Will You 'Promise to Protect'? Coalition Urges New Wave of Resistance to Stop KXL
By Jake Johnson
Shortly following the Nebraska Public Service Commission's "shortsighted and dangerous" vote to green-light TransCanada's Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline, a coalition comprised of Indigenous peoples, farmers and ranchers living along the oil project's proposed route published a letter on Monday urging the public to join them in protecting sacred land from corporate exploitation.
Endorsed by Native tribes, green groups and high-profile environmentalists, the "Promise to Protect" call to action argues that making "a concerted stand" against TransCanada's $8 billion dirty energy project "will make other fossil fuel companies think that much harder about their own expansion plans."
"Together we've stopped them for many years, and we are going to keep stopping them," the letter reads. "But we need everyone's help. We need you to take a stand no matter what land you live or work on. The struggle to save Mother Earth begins with you."
"For many years the tribes, indigenous leaders, farmers, ranchers and allies everywhere have kept this pipeline at bay," the coalition notes. "That has been a great achievement. We honestly don't know if we can hold the line against Keystone XL forever—but we know that we have a chance."
The letter goes on to make several requests of those who wish to participate in the "creative resistance" against KXL that is expected to take shape in the coming months, including:
- Commitment to entirely peaceful acts of protest, even in the face of "the pain caused by TransCanada's aggression";
- Respect for "the leadership of Indigenous peoples, farmers and ranchers in the action and the plans and strategies of the front lines and their allies who have made promises to protect the land, water and climate";
- Preparation in advance of the demonstrations, including training sessions with organizers, so that "you're able to find the place you're most needed on any given day."
The fossil fuel industry "believes that with the inauguration of Mr. Trump, the obstacles in their path had disappeared," the letter concludes. "They are unaware of the rising tide of indigenous unity and the strong alliances with ranchers, farmers and the climate justice movement which grew stronger at Standing Rock. When the president approved the federal permits for KXL last winter, he asked TransCanada executives when construction would start: Our job is to make sure the answer is, 'no time soon.'"
As Common Dreams reported, Nebraska's Public Service Commission voted 3-2 on Monday to grant TransCanada the final permit to begin construction along an alternative route to the one the company initially proposed. If built, the pipeline would carry an estimated 800,000 gallons of tar sands oil per day from Alberta, Canada through several states en route to Texas oil refineries.
Massive Oil Spill Not Expected to Influence Nebraska's Decision on Keystone XL https://t.co/VTTeq069SB #KXL… https://t.co/Y2VPLG9Q7B— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1511187212.0
In addition to the mass action that is expected to accompany any advances in construction of the pipeline, a flood of appeals and lawsuits are expected to challenge Nebraska's decision to approve the project in the coming weeks.
"The climate can't handle another tar sands pipeline," Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA, declared in a statement. "We won't stand idly by while new fossil fuel infrastructure projects, like the Keystone XL pipeline, threaten communities and put drinking water at risk. TransCanada and the other companies trying to build new tar sands pipelines will continue to face a wall of resistance until each and every one of these projects is cancelled."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
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Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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