Six months since Hurricane Maria battered the island of Puerto Rico, the island is the site of a pitched battle between wealthy investors—particularly from the technology industry—and everyday Puerto Ricans fighting for a place in their island's future.
Broadcasting from the Sundance Film Festival, we are joined by three guests who personally battled with DuPont and are featured in the new documentary called "The Devil We Know," that looks at how former DuPont employees, residents and lawyers took on the chemical giant to expose the danger of the chemical C8, found in Teflon and countless household products—from stain- and water-resistant apparel to microwave popcorn bags to dental floss. The chemical has now been linked to six diseases, including testicular and kidney cancers.
"The U.N. cannot continue to pander to the madness that comes out of the Trump administration," Naidoo said, after the U.S. hosted a panel at the conference with a forum pushing coal, gas and nuclear power.
Watch the interview below:
Here's a transcript of the interview:
Amy Goodman: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. We're broadcasting live from the U.N. climate summit here in Bonn, Germany. We just played for you the protest that took place, the revolt that took place yesterday at the U.S.'s only session that they held here, this first COP after President Trump announced plans to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord. But it's a four-year process. And if that goes through, it ends the day after the next Election Day. The official debut of the U.S. administration was at a forum pushing coal, gas and nuclear power, the presentation including speakers from Peabody Energy, NuScale nuclear and a gas exporter.
We are continuing our conversation now with Kumi Naidoo, South African activist, former head of Greenpeace, now chairperson of Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity.
Now, we have pleaded with David Banks, the U.S. president's representative, President Trump's representative here, who said he was completely accessible, stayed right next to our booth throughout the time all of our producers went out to talk to him, but said he would not come on the broadcast, at least today. We'll attempt to try. But, Kumi Naidoo, as you went off the set for a few minutes, you got a chance to speak with David Banks.
Kumi Naidoo: Yes. I spent about 15 minutes with him. He seems to be a decent human being. He basically is not denying any of the things that we are saying, but his argument is, "Oh, technology and innovation will sort everything out." And I—
Amy Goodman: But not solar and wind.
Kumi Naidoo: Yeah, yeah. No, it's really focused on a hold—and I put it to him that "Do you realize that you are actually giving up economic opportunities, because of successful economies?" Body language suggests that they are aware of that. And the fact, the isolation—and they say they—President Trump has not ruled out the possibility of coming back. But right now, let me tell you—and, Amy, you and I have been at COPs for so long. Right now, almost now, people want to say, "Actually, if the U.S. is going to behave like this, better they stay out. Let the rest of the world go ahead. And we'll work with the governors of those states that want to be involved, the majority of municipalities in the United States that want to be involved, the civil society." And—
Amy Goodman: This is the We are Still In coalition.
Kumi Naidoo: Yeah, yeah.
Amy Goodman: Yesterday, Governors Inslee and Governor Kate Brown of Oregon, and Washington state, almost took over the U.S. government's press event—
Kumi Naidoo: Yes, yes.
Amy Goodman: —by just coming in and stating, basically, "This is a sham."
Kumi Naidoo: And I want to say something to the UNFCC. The people that did that peaceful protest, they've been debadged and thrown out. Right?
Amy Goodman: They have been, yesterday?
Kumi Naidoo: That's what I understand. I stand to be corrected, if that—anyway, I did a protest; that's what happened to me, as well, some years ago. But what they did with that panel, this only first panel, is an impeachable offense, really. I mean, it may—they come and present something—
Amy Goodman: You mean the U.S. government.
Kumi Naidoo: The U.S. government.
Amy Goodman: The Trump administration.
Kumi Naidoo: To do a panel that actually goes against 99.99 percent of those scientific consensus in the world—right?—and to give them a platform to do that, I say to the UNFCCC that, in fact, it is inappropriate, and the U.N. cannot continue to pander to the madness that comes out of the Trump administration. We have to say to them, "If you want to be out, you stay out. Don't come and poison this negotiations the way that you're doing." Those that are aligned to the vision of the Paris accord, limit—you know, imperfect as it is, let us move ahead. Because what they do here is they come, they suck up a lot of oxygen, they hold back negotiations. And let's be blunt about it. It's not as if the Obama administration was perfect here. They also held us back. It's just that, you know—or, certainly, the Trump administration—
Amy Goodman: We have 10 seconds for your final message.
Kumi Naidoo: —also did it. So, time is running out. We need American people. And we are happy that at least the American people are with us, if not the American president.
Amy Goodman: We thank you so much, Kumi Naidoo, South African activist, former head of Greenpeace, now chairperson of Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity.
And that does it for our broadcast here in Bonn, Germany.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Democracy Now!.
Shocking New Investigation Links Berta Cáceres’s Assassination to Executives at Honduran Dam Company
We look at shocking revelations released Tuesday that link the assassination of renowned Honduran indigenous environmental leader Berta Cáceres to the highest levels of the company whose hydroelectric dam project she and her indigenous Lenca community were protesting.
As raging wildfires in California scorch more than 200,000 acres—roughly the size of New York City—more than 11,000 firefighters are battling the blazes, and a number of them are prisoners, including many women inmates.
In Mexico, a massive 7.1-magnitude quake struck 100 miles southeast of Mexico City Tuesday, collapsing dozens of buildings around the capital city and trapping schoolchildren, workers and residents beneath the rubble.
At least 217 people are dead, and hundreds more are missing. Among the dead are least 21 students at a primary school in Mexico City and 15 worshipers who died during a Catholic mass when the earthquake triggered an eruption at a volcano southeast of the city.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly. Climate change is expected to be high on the agenda at this year's gathering.
As the world leaders meet, another major storm—Hurricane Maria—is gaining strength in the Caribbean and following a similar path as Hurricane Irma. The current forecast shows Maria could hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm as early as Wednesday. The U.S. Virgin Islands, which were devastated by Irma, also appear to be in line to be hit by Maria.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that the Trump administration is considering staying in the Paris climate agreement, just months after the president vowed to pull out of it. The White House denied the report. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday signaled Trump may back away from the Paris accord, but National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster gave a different message on Fox News Sunday.
We speak with best-selling author Naomi Klein, a senior correspondent for The Intercept. Her most recent book, "No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need," has been longlisted for a National Book Award.
As the U.S. continues to deal with unprecedented floods and hurricanes, a new study has revealed climate change is also driving the mass extinction of parasites that are critical to natural ecosystems, and could add to the planet's sixth great mass extinction event that's currently underway.
At least four people have died and nearly 6 million people are without power in Florida, after Hurricane Irma made landfall on Sunday on the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane. The storm also flooded the streets of downtown Miami, turning the city's main strip, Brickell Avenue, into a three-foot-high raging river. Its arrival sparked one of the largest mass evacuations in U.S. history, with nearly 7 million people ordered to leave their homes. We speak to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Elizabeth Kolbert.