Good news: Advance Costs Granted to Beaver Lake Cree Nation to Proceed with Tar Sands Trial

3 October 2019: First published by RAVEN Trust here; reprinted with permission

This week, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench granted advance costs to Beaver Lake Cree Nation to allow it to proceed with its “Tar Sands Trial” treaty case against Canada and Alberta.

It’s a huge breakthrough for a case that’s been called ‘a gamechanger’ for Indigenous rights in Canada. Now, after years of fundraising and pulling funds from critical community development initiatives to fund the case, Beaver Lake Cree will have the majority of the resources they need to mount a vigorous, well-researched case. 

Why? Because the Court ruled that a case that aims to determine just what treaties are worth in the face of rapid industrialization is of “national importance”. 

We knew that: and you knew that too. That’s why you donated, fundraised, organized events and spread the word to raise nearly $300K in 2018 for the Beaver Lake Cree to pursue this bold strategy to bring their historic case to trial. 

With this advance cost award, Beaver Lake Cree Nation will have the financial resources  to pursue a case which could transform “business as usual” in the oil sands, slowing expansion and forcing every project to be evaluated according to impacts on treaty rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

The Tar Sands Trial would force regulators to consider cumulative effects of industrial development, including fracking and in-situ oil sands extraction. At its core, the case is about upholding the treaties – which enshrine powerful Indigenous rights – ahead of approving projects, such as tar sands extraction, that could render those rights meaningless. 

Supporters outside Court during hearing Feb. 2019

Today, we are one giant leap closer to setting a legal precedent that will uphold the treaties that this country is founded upon. 

The RAVEN community stood strong behind Beaver Lake Cree: you should be incredibly proud of the role you played in lifting up the voices of a frontline Indigenous community.  Thank you for taking a stand, and drawing a line.

To run a national campaign in support of Beaver Lake Cree RAVEN has teamed up with some amazing partners! The Leap, Cadboro Bay United Church, ENvironnement JEUnesse, Justice Climatique Montréal et Climate Justice Edmonton: we couldn’t have done it without you! A big thank-you also to Greenpeace Ontario and the Climate Action Network.

Onwards, 

RAVEN Trust Team

Call to Action:

We crowdfund for this case in Europe! As you can tell, environmental human rights litigation is making progress. Any financial help is always appreciated — especially when you donate on a monthly basis. This makes it easier for lawyers to plan ahead. Litigation, even with all the legal help from people who donate their time, remains expensive. Thank you.

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.

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Desmog Blog: US Lobby Groups Most Effective at Blocking Climate Action – Report

29 September 2019; Originally published here by Richard Collett-White • Monday, September 23, 2019 – 09:50

US lobby groups representing the fossil fuel and automotive industries are world leaders when it comes to stalling government action on climate change, new research shows.

Richard Collett-White

Of the top 10 trade associations considered to be the most effective at opposing climate-friendly policies globally, seven are based in Washington DC, according to a report published this week by lobbying watchdog InfluenceMap.

Many of the organisations, which include the American Petroleum Institute and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, have had their wishes granted since President Trump’s election. As part of a broader deregulatory agenda, the Trump administration has scrapped regulations on methane emissions and automotive fuel efficiency standards.

Analysis by the NYU School of Law’s State Energy and Environmental Impact Center suggests these regulatory rollbacks will add an estimated 200 million tonnes of extra greenhouse gas emissions annually by 2025.

The report coincides with a UN Climate Action Summit taking place in New York this week, which aims to strengthen countries’ emissions reduction plans, with an overall goal of “net zero” by 2050.

Fighting climate action

The lobby groups highlighted in the report have been working to undermine efforts to introduce climate policies since long before Trump’s election, however.

The National Association of Manufacturers, which tops the list, coordinated the now-defunct Global Climate Coalition, which tried to influence the UN’s IPCC process and spread doubt about climate science during the 1990s.

Interested? For further reading, please use this link.

7 Things Lawyers can do to Support the Global Climate Strike by climate justice.org.au

Published on the Climate Justice Blog, original article 18 September 2019, link here, re-posted with permission

By Dr Keely Boom

The Global Climate Strike is a wake up call to the world to stop the climate crisis. Students around the world are fighting for climate justice, with three clear demands: (1) transition to 100% renewable energy; (2) keep fossil fuels in the ground; and (3) help victims of climate change.

These young people are now leading the greatest social justice movement that the world has ever seen. This is a critical point in time where we have the opportunity to address climate change. But if we fail, the consequences will be devastating.

So, if you are a lawyer who wants to support the Global Climate Strike, what can you do?

1: READ THE SCIENCE

Teen activist Greta Thunberg has described climate change as an ‘existential threat’ and called upon leaders to ‘listen to the scientists’. The starting point is to read the latest reports from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The IPCC stated in 2014 that the world is on the path to ‘severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts’ of human-caused climate change.

2: JOIN THE GLOBAL CLIMATE STRIKE

The students who are planning to march at the upcoming Global Climate Strike have urged adults to join them. The climate emergency threatens all of us. If we want to fight for climate justice, we can show our support by marching in the streets alongside the students.

3: DECLARE A CLIMATE EMERGENCY

If you hold a university position, you can ask your university to declare a climate emergency – just as Newcastle Law School has done. Your law firm could declare a climate emergency. You could join efforts to ask governments and other bodies like the Law Council of Australia to declare a climate emergency. At a personal level, you can commit to take emergency action through using your unique legal skills and experience to fight climate change.

4: BECOME A LEGAL OBSERVER

As a lawyer, or even a law student, you could choose to attend the Global Climate Strike as a Legal Observer. As a Legal Observer, you would not be participating in the strike, but instead observing any police interaction with the protestors. In some places there are already Legal Observer groups that you could join. Or you might want to start your own group to provide independent observation in your local area and train other lawyers in how to be a Legal Observer.

5: DEFEND CLIMATE ACTIVISTS IN COURT

Climate activists who engage in civil disobedience may be charged with offences. Young students may have little understanding of the legal system or their rights. Activists are unlikely to have resources to obtain private representation. As a lawyer you could provide legal advice and representation to activists engaged in the Global Climate Strike who face criminal law proceedings. There may also be activists who require legal advice around their rights at their workplace if they do not have the permission of their employers to do so.

6: BRING INNOVATIVE CLIMATE LITIGATION

As governments fail to meet the challenge of the climate crisis, climate litigation has spread around the globe. Young people in the US have brought lawsuits against governments over inaction. A farmer from Peru is suing a German utility company. The Philippines Human Rights Commission is investigating the world’s Big Oil, Coal and Gas producers for allegedly causing human rights violations. Climate litigation is a powerful tool in the fight for climate justice. You may be able to provide advice and represent communities and others seeking climate justice.

7: SUPPORT LEGAL REFORM

It is clear that our current legal system is failing to adequately address the climate crisis. We must reform our law to enable the emergency action that is required, while also safeguarding human rights and civil liberties. Lawyers have an important role in the urgent reform of legal systems around the world.

Take the opportunity this Global Climate Strike day to utilise your unique legal skills, experience and networks to address the climate crisis. 

We need everyone, including lawyers, to join the movement and ensure a safe climate for our children and all future generations.

Global Climate Strike to be held from 20 September to 27 September, 2019

South African Appeal Case Challenges Business-as-Usual Attitude of Coal Mine Company

Originally published by SaveOurWilderness.org on 18 September 2019; re-published with permission.

On Tuesday, 17 September 2019 at 9h30, Judge Seegobin granted the Global Environmental Trust (GET) and the Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (MCEJO) the right to take their matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.

The attendance at the Application for Leave to Appeal in the Pietermaritzburg High Court the previous week on Wednesday, 11 September, indicated that the case is gaining recognition as significant in bringing clarity to an area of law that no court has ruled on yet.

The involvement of the Cape Town based Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) as amicus curiae (friend of the court), with both representative attorneys Catherine Horsfield and Max du Plessis being present in the court, was valuable in assisting Judge Seegobin with aspects of the case that had been less clear during the initial court appearance a year ago. Having Adv. Tembeka Ngcukaitobi to represent GET & MCEJO, who also represented the Amadiba Crisis Committee in their #Right2SayNo campaign against the mining of the Xolobeni dunes, also elevated the status of the Tendele mining case. 

The main issue concerns disagreement about the role, before 2014, of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) under the then Department of Environmental Affairs, and the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) under the Department of Mineral Resources.

Ngcukaitobi and du Preez argued that both pieces of legislation needed to be complied with, which required Tendele mine to have an environmental authorisation based on an environmental impact assessment, required by NEMA, and the Environmental Management Plan required by MPRDA.

Tendele’s lawyers argued that the MPRDA trumped NEMA and that, given Tendele had an approved environmental management plan report (EMPr) required by MPRDA, then this was sufficient, and the mine was compliant.

If there are reasonable prospects that the Supreme Court of Appeal would come to a different conclusion or if the matter is of sufficient public importance, which raises novel issues worthy of attention of the Supreme Court, then Judge Seegobin was obliged to grant leave to appeal. The cases cited by Ngcukaitobi and du Preez provided support that another judge would support their view. 

Further to the appeal, Ngcukaitobi and du Preez presented very strong grounds that another judge would likely come to a different decision about awarding costs against civil society organisations (in this case, GET and MCEJO) that had brought a matter of public interest to court. Based on the Biowatch ConCourt judgement, as well as several other cases, it became clear that this alone opened the way for the right to appeal to be granted.

Tendele’s legal team and even Judge Seegobin played down the importance of the costs order by saying that the mine had agreed not to pursue this and so, in a sense, the costs order no longer existed. Attorney du Preez was particularly vocal about the judgement being on SAFLII, the legal register of reported cases that judges and magistrates rely on when coming to a decision based on precedent. He argued that it is critically important that this judgement, with its potentially chilling effect on civil society to approach the courts with constitutional matters, has to be contested and overturned.

Kirsten Youens, lead attorney for GET and MCEJO, sees the tide turning for her 4 000 clients who constitute the MCEJO organisation in Somkhele, South Africa.

“It has been a long road. They have suffered since 2007, when Tendele started mining without environmental authorisation or meaningful compensation to land rights holders. Finally, my clients can see that the legal system serves them too and the law applies to all. I and the incredible team of public interest lawyers that support me, will continue to fight together with GET for the rights of MCEJO, the environment and for justice to be done.”

Attorney Kirsten Youens
Mr Gednezar Dladla, center, addressing the community

Sabelo Dladla, the second applicant in this matter, was delighted to receive the news of the appeal on the same day he turned 24 years old. “This judgement is the best birthday present I could ask for. Thank you, Kirsten and our legal team.”

Dladla, an ecotourism graduate, grew up next to Tendele mine and helplessly watched while his parents lost their wealth, after their grazing land was taken away from them by Tendele mine — without compensation. At the funeral of his father, the well-known activist Mr Gednezar Dladla in 2015, Sabelo promised to all those present that he would take over the struggle against Tendele mine, in the name of justice for the residents of Somkhele for whom his father had so valiantly fought. This Sabelo Dladla has done. 

Call to action

Do you wish to support this case financially (see our donation form below) or become more involved personally (check this link)? You should know how much that is appreciated, by all the people who work tirelessly on 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 …

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Critical High Court Application Pushes for Mining Sector Compliance

On Wednesday, 11 September 2019, in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, South Africa, a strong legal team is determined to ensure the right to appeal the dismissal of GET & MCEJO’s application exposing Tendele coal mine’s lack of compliance with environmental laws and the Constitution, and to ensure the mining sector complies with the law.

MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Originally published 10 September, 2019, by SaveOurWilderness.org

Pietermaritzburg, South Africa – On Wednesday, 11 September 2019, at 9h00, the Application for Leave to Appeal last year’s ruling in favour of Tendele Coal Mining (Pty) is set to be heard in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

On 20 November 2018, Judge Rishi Seegobin dismissed the application by the Global Environmental Trust (GET), Sabelo Dladla, a 24-year old activist who grew up next to the Tendele mine, and the Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (MCEJO) that challenged Tendele’s non-compliance with environmental, planning, waste management authorisations, and cultural heritage legislation.

The judge ordered GET and MCEJO to pay the legal costs of the mine.

Setting

Tendele mine is situated 6 km away from the iMfolozi Wilderness Area, part of the historic Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park (HiP) and a sanctuary for rhinos for 110 years, drawing thousands of local and foreign visitors every year. The mine has been operating since 2007 without any environmental authorisations or a waste management licence.

At the time of the judgment last year, attorney Catherine Horsfield, who represents the Cape Town-based Centre for Environmental Rights (CER), expressed concern that the ruling has broad national implications. Specifically she stated that it “may open the door” for companies to disregard environmental laws and safeguards in the Constitution of South Africa. Ms. Horsfield also considered the judge’s punitive costs ordered against two community-based environmental groups to have a “chilling” legal effect. She feared it might negatively impact other vulnerable peoples from instituting public-interest litigation against powerful mining companies. CER has applied to be amicus curiae (or friends of the court for MCEJO and GET) in the Application for Leave to Appeal. Ms. Horsfield and advocate Max du Preez will attend the hearing to provide additional information to the court.

The legal team that will represent Mr. Dladla, GET and MCEJO on 11 September include lead attorney, Kirsten Youens, assisted by Janice Tooley Attorneys, EIA specialists; Johan Lorenzen of Richard Spoor Attorneys; and advocates Mawande Mazibuko and Tembeka Ngcukaitobi. The team is determined to obtain leave to appeal Judge Seegobin’s ruling in the Supreme Court in Bloemfontein.

Two independent publications, one by the South African Human Rights Commission and the other by Human Rights Watch, cited Tendele as one of the mines disregarding the human rights of mining affected communities in SA, with the Somkhele/ Mpukunyoni residents being one of them.

This will open the way to achieving support from the South African courts into greater compliance by the mining sector. And, this court case gives an opportunity to South Africa’s judicial system to the coal mining sector that companies in breach of the country’s laws and regulations.

With the Global Climate Strike taking place on 20 September 2019, there is strong evidence of increasing momentum to hold companies and governments to account and to put pressure on them to reduce fossil fuel expansion and dependence in order to prevent the increasing threat of devastating climate impacts.

Wednesday 11 September 2019 offers an opportunity for South Africa to demonstrate alignment with this international trend for sustainability.

CONTACT:  Kirsten Youens, youens@youensattorneys.co.za or Sabelo Dladla, sabelodladla1@gmail.com.

Want to help? You may donate below — with our deep appreciation!

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 …

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Save Our Wilderness: uMfolozi Municipality Spatial Development Framework Indicates Mining at Fuleni by iButho Coal Taken as Given

6 September 2019; Originally published by Save Our Wilderness on 5 September (link here).

Picture credit and additional information: Map 18: Mining Areas indicates that the most potential mining land within the municipality is along the coast where most of the illegal and legal mining activities occur. Furthermore, the far western portion of the municipality, (within wards 17, 12 and 13) is dominated by coal mining activities. Currently iButho Coal mining has undergone negotiations to propose an open cast mine on the boundary of iMfolozi Wilderness Area.

The final Spatial Development Framework for the uMfolozi Municipality has been released. 

The uMfolozi Municipality stretches from the southern borders of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park to the coast. Map 18 on mining areas shows the area identified for coal mining running along the southern border of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.

Especially problematic is the following paragraph, from page 102 of the Spatial Development Framework:

The Fuleni area consists of large exploitable anthracite deposits which fall under the Fuleni Coal Mine project by iButho Coal. iButho Coal has undertaken an environmental assessment as part of the pre-feasibility study, and are still set to conduct further environmental assessments once they attain the mining licence for the area. In order for the mining operations to commence, one river will be blocked for the use of the mine and certain households will be relocated for safety reasons.

[Italics added for emphasis]

It is clear that the Municipality has endorsed iButho Coal’s mining application even though the Department of Mineral Resources had rejected iButho Coal’s application on grounds that they cannot adequately mitigate the impacts their mine would have on the iMfolozi Wilderness area.

iButho Coal is currently appealing this decision.

uMfolozi-Final-SDFDownload

Call to Action:

Make a difference! Donate below or become involved, on our You Versus page here.

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 …

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Should We Care About a Coal Mine In Rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa?

“Through wilderness we remember and are brought home again.”

Sir Laurens van der Post

By Ronit Shapiro, Creator and Producer – Sisters of the Wilderness, Founder – One Nature

Published 25 July 2019

In 2005 I was asked to organise an event at the Royal Geographic Society in London, to raise awareness to Africa’s wild nature. The keynote speaker at the event was the late Dr. Ian Player, a much beloved South African conservationist and a deep-thinking writer. Little did I know at the time that this meeting with Dr. Player would make such a profound impact on my life.

Hearing Dr. Player talk was a great inspiration and touched something deep within. Then reading his books, in particular Zulu Wilderness, Shadow and Soul, made such an impression that this led me to change my entire career. 

Ronit Shapiro

After working in corporate communications for many years I decided to use my creativity and story-telling skills to tell stories that matter. I want to share the untold universal stories that need to be heard, those stories that can make a real difference to timely social and environmental issues affecting us all.

Passionate about the wellness of people and the environment, I intuitively felt that human and nature interconnect. I got affirmation to my intuitive feeling when I read the works of great writers, philosophers, poets and naturalists, and especially when spending time in nature.

Credit: photograph still from documentary “Sisters of the Wilderness” by Ronit Shapiro

In 2010 I wrote to Dr. Player and asked his permission to make a film inspired by his life and pioneering work in the wilderness. Dr. Player lived and worked in the African wilderness nearly all his life. He fought to protect wilderness and promoted a worldview of interconnectedness and deep ecology.

Over many years, he and his Zulu mentor and bush guide, Baba Maqgubu Ntombela, introduced thousands of people to the iMfolozi Wilderness, an ancient wilderness which nestles within the oldest game park in Africa, the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi park in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. 

Dr. Player wholeheartedly supported my initiative to make a social impact film set in the wilderness. He invited me to visit him and his wife Ann in his farm Phuzamoya, in the Natal Midlands in South Africa.

This was the beginning of four extraordinary life-changing years of in-depth mentorship by Dr. Player, and a special friendship developed with him and his dear and wise wife Ann. Sadly, Dr. Player passed away at the end of 2014. His passing created a deep void. At the same time, I was determined to continue with the film and social impact projects.

Credit: photograph still from documentary “Sisters of the Wilderness” by Ronit Shapiro

I aspired to create a moving image story to reconnect audiences with nature and raise awareness to the value of nature to our well-being. In particular I was drawn into the African wilderness, which is unlike any other wild nature, with its primordial wildlife and fauna.

A moving experience, that I had on a wilderness journey in iMfolozi, gave me confidence that this is where the film should be set and that this precious wilderness must be protected. Here an ageless spirit survives and one can sense a spiritual connection to the land. 

Credit: photograph still from documentary “Sisters of the Wilderness” by Ronit Shapiro

The iMfolozi valley was home to the first people of Southern Africa and later became the heartland of the Zulu people, who lived here in harmony with nature and with great respect (inhlonipho) to Mother Earth and all creation. This is also the place where the Southern White Rhino was saved from extinction. This wilderness is alive and it enriches and revitalises its visitors, physically and spiritually. 

In the film, I wanted to ‘transfer’ the audience to this primal place where no barriers separate human and nature. A journey into this wilderness is an intense experience where one can expect to undergo a personal transformation. It is a place of great inspiration.

Sadly, the iMfolozi Wilderness is now severely threatened. An existing open cast coal mine on the eastern border of the wilderness is expanding regardless of its devastating impact on nature, the surrounding rural communities and their livestock. Moreover, there are additional proposed coal mines in very close proximity to the park’s southern boundary which threatens to devastate even further this fragile nature ecosystem and the nearby communities.

Credit: photograph still from documentary “Sisters of the Wilderness” by Ronit Shapiro

Wild nature is fast disappearing due to humanity’s careless and irresponsible behaviour over generations. But we can stop this destruction! If we allow ourselves to pause and listen to nature and appreciate the value of nature to our wellbeing, and let nature remind us that we are nature and nature is us and what we do to nature we do to ourselves; that if we harm nature, we harm ourselves. When we develop an awe and reverence to nature, for nature sustains and nourishes us, we will be on the path to avert the destructive trend.

To that end I created Sisters of the Wilderness

Credit: photograph still from documentary “Sisters of the Wilderness” by Ronit Shapiro

The film, which takes one on an immersive journey within and without into the African wilderness, tells the story of five young Zulu women going into the iMfolozi wilderness on a journey of healing and self-discovery. On their journey they learn about the plight of this primordial wilderness from an open-cast coal mine on its border and an intensifying rhino poaching calamity.

Credit: photograph still from documentary “Sisters of the Wilderness” by Ronit Shapiro

Sisters of the Wilderness is not just a film. It is also a social impact project which aims to make a difference to timely and important social and environmental issues. The project’s key impact goals are: 

  • Young people empowerment and leadership development, using the power of wild nature, with a special focus on women empowerment.
  • Re-connect audiences to wild nature and raise awareness to the value of nature to our well-being.
  • Help the efforts to save the iMfolozi wilderness from the threat of unsustainable mining and the illegal hunting of its rhinos and other endangered species.

The film is now screening in film festivals worldwide.

Please follow our Facebook page Sisters of the Wilderness and share with your friends. Thank you!

Call to Action

If you wish to support my project, host a screening of the film in your organisation, event or to a special interest group, or distribute the film in your part of the world, please contact me directly at onenaturefilms@gmail.com.

The Crowd Versus works to support the defence of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Wilderness through the foundation Save Our Wilderness.

If my article motivated you to help The Crowd Versus, you can get involved by being creative (link here) or to contribute to the case of The Crowd Versus Destructive Mining in Zululand. Thank you!

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 …

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Unearthed.Greenpeace.Org: Oil Majors Withhold Support for Ambitious EU Climate Target 2050

Picture credit: Photo by Zukiman Mohamad from Pexels

BP and Shell declined to back a plan to reduce European greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, Unearthed can reveal

Originally published on 20 June 2019, link here, author: Lawrence Carter Twitter: @lawrencecarter1

The European Commission says the proposal, which would set an EU-wide target of net zero emissions by 2050, is needed if global warming is to be limited to 1.5 °C in line with the Paris climate change accord.  

Prime Minister Theresa May will attend a meeting of the European Council starting later today at which leaders are expected to vote on the new target.

The move follows last year’s major report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which warned that failure to limit warming to 1.5 °C would significantly worsen the risk of drought, floods, extreme heat, and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. 

Some of the world’s largest oil companies, including BP and Shell, the Italian major Eni and Spanish company Repsol, have withheld support for the proposal to increase the EU’s target, despite previously stating their backing for the Paris climate agreement.

The EU’s present emissions target for 2050 is a reduction of 80-95%.

In their responses to the European Commission’s consultation on its proposal, BP, Shell and Repsol did not answer the key question on whether the EU’s 2050 target should be kept the same, or be increased to achieve net zero.

When contacted by Unearthed, Shell said that the company supported a net zero goal but would not give a date by which this should happen. 

To continue reading, please link here.

We Support the People of Ecuador

We, the students of the HKU (University of the Arts Utrecht), are working on a special project to support the case ‘The Crowd vs. Chevron oil spill in Ecuador.’

We made a substance that looks like oil and it works!

Soon you will discover what it’s for…

students of the HKU
HKU student busy developing an oil-like substance

Check below for more information about the Chevron v. Ecuador case:

The Crowd vs. Chevron Oil Spill in Ecuador

93% funded
We've raised €13,901.09 of the €15,000.00 we are trying to raise for this case!
The Crowd Claims 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…

Multi-Award Winning Documentary Highlights the Mining Threat to iMfolozi: Sisters of the Wilderness

THIS SOCIAL IMPACT DOCUMENTARY ‘SISTERS OF THE WILDERNESS’ WON BEST SOUTH AFRICAN FEATURE DOCUMENTARY AT THE DURBAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AND QUALIFIES FOR THE OSCARS.

The film is mostly set in the iMfolozi wilderness area, within the oldest proclaimed game reserve in Africa and one of the fast disappearing pockets of wilderness where wild nature can be experienced at its purest form.

Since time immemorial this sanctuary has maintained its raw wildness. Here an ageless spirit survives and one can sense a spiritual connection to the land. The iMfolozi valley was the heartland of the Zulu people who lived here in harmony with nature and with great respect (inhlonipho) to Mother Earth and all creation.

This wilderness acts as the main character in the film. Into this wilderness a group of young Zulu women enters on a life-changing journey to experience true wild nature for the first time in their lives.

The young women, mostly from townships and semi-rural communities, aspire to elevate themselves beyond challenging life conditions. They have an interest in nature and a spark of leadership but they lack the opportunity to experience wild nature in their impoverished lives. Accompanied by veteran female wilderness guides, they camp under the stars in big game country, totally surrounded by wild animals such as elephants, rhinos and lions. Exposed to the elements and carrying on their back all they need for the journey, they have to cope with emotional and physical challenges, and learn what it takes to survive in the wild.

A wilderness journey is an intense experience where one can expect to undergo personal transformation. It can enhance personal growth and leadership development; and it is also a soulful experience that has the capacity to heal. The solitary night watch where one is responsible for the entire camp, the solitude contemplation sessions and the possible close encounters with wild animals like a charging rhino, an elephant ambling next to the camp at night, the yellow eyes of a wild cat in the dark of the night, all contribute to enhance one’s sense of connection to nature and encourage self-introspection.

The latter especially occurs whilst one sits around the campfire, listening to the lively Zululand wilderness night, hearing the cough of the leopard, the cry of the hyena or the roar of the lion.

Mentoring the women and initiating them into the wilderness is, KwaMashu born, Lihle Mbokazi, the first black South African woman wilderness guide. Lihle is also deeply interested in reviving indigenous knowledge systems and share the wisdom of the old days with the young women. Along with Lihle we also see Janet and Zondi, the lead wilderness guides, who share nature wisdom with the women.

Long periods of Nature’s ambient sounds help the audience to connect with wilderness and when interweaved with the soulful music of film composer, Ian Arber, transports one into the same inner world of connectivity that nature takes one on.

Link to SistersOfTheWilderness.com for a short trailer.

Despite the tranquil setting, the iMfolozi wilderness is now severely threatened.

An existing open-cast coal mine on the Eastern border of the wilderness is expanding regardless of its devastating impact on the surrounding rural communities and their livestock.

Additionally, a proposed coal mine just 40 metres from the park’s southern boundary threatens to devastate even further this fragile nature gem and the communities.

The park is home to incredibly important populations of both white and black rhino. It is renowned worldwide for being the historical home of the Southern White Rhino, following the successful ‘Operation Rhino’ in the 1960’s driven largely by the park’s then-warden, Ian Player.

Dr. Player’s efforts brought the rhinos back from the brink of extinction. The park now has the largest population of Southern White Rhino in the world.

The success of this program has recently been compromised by a gruesome increase in rhino poaching within the park. This critical threat has not only become a great concern for the park, but for rhino conservationists worldwide.

Link to SaveOurWilderness.org for additional blogs and information about Dr. Player.

Call to action:

At THE CROWD VERSUS we can also use your help. We crowdfund for the litigation pending to stop the permitting of open cast coal mining, or the expansion of older, already present mines (Tendele).

We have several options to create the level of your involvement. You can donate or become personally involved by writing a blog, taking photographs, or entertaining friends with a dinner at home.

We look forward to seeing your ideas!