Jim Womack has had enough of your fracking protesting

Reposted from TheRant

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Apparently taking a page from the North Carolina General Assembly’s playbook when it comes to limiting free speech, Jim Womack is seeking a protest perimeter at an upcoming public hearing on fracking.

Womack, a Lee County commissioner and chairman of the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission, has asked CCCC officials via email to “designate all areas within 300 feet of the main hall as noise-free areas” during the public hearing, which is set for Aug. 22 at CCCC’s civic center. Continue reading

The planet and its wildlife need us to reduce our meat consumption.

Reposted from Center for Biological Diversity:

Meat production is one of the main drivers of environmental degradation globally, and the crisis is rapidly growing worse. Production of beef, poultry, pork and other meats tripled between 1980 and 2010 and will likely double again by 2020. This ever-increasing meat consumption in a world of more than 7 billion people is already taking a staggering toll on wildlife, habitat, water resources, air quality and the climate. And Americans eat more meat per capita than almost anyone else. By eating less or no meat, we can take extinction off our plates and improve our own health along with the health of the planet.

Read Grist’s magazine’s new article on how American’s meat centric diet is responsible for twice as much carbon emissions than vegetarian and vegan diets.

Learn more about our campaign, meat consumption and the environment.

Join the movement for an Earth-friendly diet and invite your friends.

How Meat Consumption Threatens the Environment

Livestock vs. Wildlife

From wolves to elk to prairie dogs, wild animals pay the price of meat production. Some are killed because they prey on cows; others die en masse to make room for agricultural operations; still more are put in harm’s way by pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that exacerbate climate change.
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Climate Change

According to the United Nations, meat production is responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions — more than all forms of transportation combined. Nearly 60 percent of the carbon footprint of the average U.S. household diet comes from animal products.

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Habitat Loss, Water Use and Pollution

The 500 million tons of manure produced annually by U.S. livestock is just the beginning: Animal agriculture has taken over nearly half the landmass of the lower 48 states. And it has polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and groundwater in 17 states.

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BREAKING: 2 Animal Activists Indicted as Terrorists for Freeing Mink

reposted from Green Is The New Red

by WILL POTTER on JULY 10, 2014

in TERRORISM COURT CASES

tyler-lang-aetaTwo animal rights activists have been indicted on federal terrorism charges for allegedly releasing 2,000 mink and foxes from fur farms in the Midwest.

Tyler Lang and Kevin Olliff were charged with two counts of violating the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and committing “animal enterprise terrorism.”

Olliff is currently in jail in Illinois, where he was sentenced to 30 months in jail for having boltcutters in his Prius.

Lang was arrested outside of a Veggie Grill restaurant in Los Angeles on Thursday. He had arrived to prepare for a fundraiser at the restaurant to benefit the Bunny Alliance, an animal rights group with which he volunteers.

When he saw FBI agents walking up to the restaurant, he said he knew something was wrong. He was on the phone with a friend, who joked that they were there to spy on the animal rights fundraiser. Before he was arrested, he told his friend “call my lawyer.”

At Lang’s bail hearing at a Los Angeles federal courthouse, the government asked for a $30,000 bond, which is $20,000 above what pre-trial services had recommended.

The prosecutor did not request that Lang be jailed awaiting trial, but said Lang was a flight risk because of his “extreme activism.”

“He has plans to travel the country for what he calls non-profit work,” the prosecutor said, “but what the government calls violent civil disobedience.”

Lang told me he had planned on beginning a tour this weekend with other volunteers, protesting airlines that transport primate for animal experimentation.

Lang may not be able to attend the protests, but other volunteers say they are undeterred.

“We know that Tyler would want us to carry on with the Fight or Flight tour,” said Amanda Schemkes, a Bunny Alliance volunteer. “It’s to further the campaign against the transport of animals to labs, as well as to build and empower grassroots activism in the face of state repression. Our work to help animals continues to be motivated by them rather than stifled by attempts to chill activism.”

The indictments come as hundreds of animal rights activists are in Los Angeles this weekend for the National Animal Rights Conference, where a prominent theme is corporate efforts to label non-violent protest activity as “terrorism.”

Releasing animals from fur farms is clearly against the law, but in the history of underground groups like the Animal Liberation Front not a single human being has been harmed; yet the FBI continues to label animal rights activism as “terrorism.”

New ag-gag laws go even further, criminalizating whistleblowers, undercover investigators and journalists who expose animal cruelty on factory farms.

As FBI agents and prosecutors prepared for Lang’s bail hearing, it was clear that even they were a bit confused about this “terrorism” case.

Outside of the courtroom, one FBI agent was overheard on a cell phone saying: “No, he is being charged with damaging property. Not damaging animals—they are against that.”

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Red Wolf Recovery Program Under Review

 

Endangered Red Wolf at the North Carolina Zoo
Credit Jared Brumbaugh

 

 

 

A program that saved the red wolf from extinction could come to an end.  This week, we talk to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official about the experimental Red Wolf Recovery Program and the review that will determine its effectiveness.

Southeastern North Carolina is the only place on Earth where the endangered red wolf roams in the wild.  But as their numbers dwindle, a program trying to save them is in doubt.  Per request of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will soon begin an evaluation of the experimental Red Wolf Recovery Program to determine if it should continue.  Assistant Regional Director for Ecological Services for the Southeast Region Leo Miranda says these routine evaluations are performed every few years.

“We do this kind of evaluation for many species and as a public agency, I think it’s the right thing to do. Every couple of years, we should be evaluating where are we, where are we heading to see if our efforts are on the right track.”

For this review, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services focuses on three areas to determine the success of red wolf recovery in the wild.

“We currently use the science in making a determination of having a self-sustaining population of red wolves in eastern North Carolina is viable or not, given the hybridization with coyotes issue, as well as climate change, sea level rise that might be a big threat to the species.”

 

Pair of endangered red wolves at the North Carolina Zoo
Credit Jared Brumbaugh

 

 

 

They also evaluate program management within the community, the state and with partnering organizations.  Red wolf populations have been showing a steady declining trend, with estimates that only 90 to 110 remain in Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell, and Washington counties.   Red wolves can die from a number of reasons; from being hit by a vehicle to natural causes.  But Miranda says there’s been a marked increase in red wolf gunshot mortality since 2004.

“Back then, we had, I believe an average of four gunshot deaths a year, in 2013, we had nine. We went up from four to nine gunshot deaths.”

So far, five red wolf deaths have been reported this year; two of those caused by gunshot wounds.  In May, a federal judge banned hunting coyotes, which are often mistaken for red wolves, in the five county wolf territory.  The ruling came after three advocacy groups sued to block the state’s open season on coyotes.

The possibility of the Red Wolf Recovery Program in northeastern North Carolina shutting down is a real one.  A similar red wolf program aimed at establishing a red wolf population in the Great Smoky Mountains ended in 1998 after only seven years.  Miranda says both programs – in the mountains and here at the coast – were classified as experimental.

“We decided to end the program because of the low pup survival and the inability of red wolves to establish their home ranges within the national park.  We maybe have some of that happening here in eastern North Carolina with most of the wolf packs we have right now established on private land, not in the national wildlife refuge.  Although not at the levels as western North Carolina, we have seen some decrease in pup survival.”

Miranda says Fish and Wildlife Services could decide to continue the program as is, make changes or cancel the program all together.  He says it’s too soon to predict how a decision could impact the wild red wolf populations currently calling eastern North Carolina home, especially if they cancel the program.

“If we decide to go there, then we need to define what we need to do with the animals that remain in the population.”

 

Endangered Red Wolf at the North Carolina Zoo
Credit Jared Brumbaugh

 

In a letter to the Wildlife Resources Commission, the US Fish and Wildlife Service committed to have a draft scope of work for the evaluation.   Miranda says they hope to have it ready by next week. The Red Wolf Recovery Program receives about $1.3M a year for restoring the wild population, making red wolves the species with the most funding invested by the Service.  But the Program entails more than just growing the number of wild red wolves. Nearly 200 red wolves are currently captive in 40 breeding facilities scattered throughout the United States. For more information on the Recovery Program and to see pictures of the red wolf, go to publicradioeast.org.

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Contact Fish & Wildlife Services now to tell them to continue the program!

Example text: “I am deeply disturbed that the Fish and Wildlife Service is even considering changes to the red wolf recovery program that would weaken or undercut efforts to save this important species. Red wolves are an integral part of this country’s natural heritage, and the Service is responsible for recovering endangered species. Its mission is not to placate extreme anti-wildlife interests. Hundreds of red wolves are in captivity right now, and it must be the Service’s goal to return more of them to the wild in more locations — not to add more to the captive population by capturing the few wild red wolves left in North Carolina”  - Center for Biological Diversity.

E-mail or call: Cynthia_Dohner@fws.gov   404-679-4000

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Red wolf extinction fear as US budget cuts bite

“To Contact Fish & Wildlife Services about this issue e-mail Cynthia_Dohner@fws.gov  or call her at 404-679-4000″  - Piedmont EF!

article below by Joseph Hinton published in The Ecologist

7th July 2014

wolf

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has done pioneering conservation work to save North America’s endangered Red Wolf, under threat from shooting and inter-breeding with coyotes. But now federal budget cuts are putting all that – and the Red wolf itself – at risk.

Despite great strides to restore red wolves to their former range, much work needs to be done, and an end to the USFWS Red Wolf Recovery Program could see the end of the red wolf.

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Red Wolf Reintroduction Program at Risk!

North Carolina red wolf program to undergo review

The Associated PressJune 28, 2014 

 — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to review the red wolf program, raising the possibility that the 27-year experiment to restore the rare predators in eastern North Carolina may come to an end.

The Charlotte Observer reports (http://bit.ly/1pASvPH) the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission asked the federal agency this month to “determine the appropriateness of continuing the experimental (wolf) program.”

The 90 to 110 endangered wolves roaming near Albemarle Sound have been under fire for several years. A growing number of gunshot deaths threaten the group’s ability to reproduce.

A federal judge in May temporarily banned hunting for coyotes, which are often mistaken for wolves, in the five-county wolf territory. The ruling came after three advocacy groups sued to block the state’s open season on coyotes, which often attack pets.

Gunshot deaths of wolves on the Albemarle peninsula have climbed in recent years, to nine cases in 2013. Only two wolves have died of suspected or confirmed gunshots in 2014, but most fatal shootings have occurred in the fall.

Fish and Wildlife ended a seven-year effort to establish red wolves in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1998. The state commission said too many pups died and adults weren’t able to stay within the 521,000-acre park.

The commission questions whether the federal program can achieve its goal of establishing a “self-sustaining” wolf population on federal land. Much of the wolf range on the Albemarle peninsula is privately owned.

It quotes the federal Endangered Species Act as requiring the agency to estimate the time and cost to achieve the recovery goal.

Gordon Myers, the wildlife commission’s executive director, declined comment Friday because of the coyote-shooting lawsuit. U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle is to review the ban in November.

The Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to do the review of the wolf program, which it said was due anyway.

“All the options, every time we do one of these evaluations, are on the table,” said Leo Miranda, an assistant regional director in Atlanta. “It’s everything from status quo to modifying the program to canceling the program like we did back in 1998.”

But Miranda called the recovery effort “extremely successful” for meeting its population goal of 45 to 55 wolves in 1995 and saving the animals from extinction in the wil

 

Urge the Fish and Wildlife Service to continue the reintroduction program and keep the last 100 red wolves in the wild from being returned to captivity. Send a personalized e-mail to Cynthia_Dohner@fws.gov  Or, call her at 404-679-4000.

Earth First! Shut Down Seneca Biomass Plant in Eugene, OR

Three earth defenders have been taken into custody for this morning’s action at the Seneca Biomass burner in Eugene, Oregon. We will need funds to assist with bail and legal defense. Click here for donation page.

View more pictures of the action here.

from Cascadia Forest Defenders

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EUGENE, OR—Scores of activists with Cascadia Forest Defenders and Earth First! converged on the Seneca Jones biomass plant this morning to protest the company’s privatization of public lands in the Elliott State Forest and ongoing pollution in West Eugene. Continue reading

Tell Fish & Wildlife Service to Start Protecting Endangered Red Wolves!

Red wolfRight now anti-wildlife special interests are pushing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to end North Carolina’s red wolf reintroduction program.

Red wolves were once abundant across the Southeast — roaming from Virginia to Florida and all the way to east Texas. By 1970, however, they’d been driven to the brink of extinction by decades of persecution and systematic efforts to eliminate wolves from the American landscape. After the species was declared endangered in 1973, the last 17 wild red wolves were captured for a captive breeding program.

Red wolf releases began in North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in the mid 1980s, but recovery efforts have repeatedly been thwarted by illegal shootings that have kept the population from expanding. And now, rather than taking steps to curtail activities that harm red wolves, the Service stands back and the poaching continues.

Please act now to protect red wolves in North Carolina: Urge the Fish and Wildlife Service to continue the reintroduction program and keep the last 100 red wolves in the wild from being returned to captivity.  Use the link above for an e-mail from Center for Biological Diversity, or, better yet, send a personalized e-mail to Cynthia_Dohner@fws.gov  Or, call her at 404-679-4000.

Protesters’ Delay Tactics Can Stall Extraction Projects

 

New research found that delays caused by conflict with communities can result in the loss of $20 million per week.

Photo Credit: Waging Nonviolence

The knock on environmental protests is that they oftentimes only appear to delay the inevitable — be it forcing a coal-fired power plant to shut down for just one day or forcing the construction of a pipeline to be rerouted. But what if those delays really were more than symbolic victories? What if they amounted to something really powerful that actually imposed serious costs on industry? Well, that’s exactly what a new study says.

According to researchers from the University of Queensland, Harvard Kennedy School and Clark University, conflict has become a major contributor to the cost of projects in the mining, oil and gas industries. The researchers looked at 50 planned major extractive projects and found that local communities launched some sort of “project blockade” in half of them, leading to 15 percent of the projects being suspended or abandoned.

“There is a popular misconception that local communities are powerless in the face of large corporations and governments,” said Daniel Franks, Deputy Director of UQ’s Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining. “Our findings show that community mobilization can be very effective at raising the costs to companies.”

The research, which is based on confidential interviews with 45 high-level industry officials, found that delays caused by conflict with communities can result in the loss of $20 million per week for mining projects valued between $3 billion to $5 billion. One company’s costs reached $6 billion over two years — more than 10 percent of its annual operating profits. In general, though, protests were most successful when they took place early on, during the planning and construction phases of a project.

“This [is] in part because the project is smaller in scale and therefore easier to contest,” Franks told Vice’s Motherboard, “but also because at later stages of the project cycle, capital has been sunk into an area, changes become costly to retrofit, revenues begin to be generated, and there are increased incentives for companies and governments to ‘defend’ their projects.”

The lesson for companies, according to the researchers, is to consider the benefits of building relationships with communities.

“If companies are interested in securing their profits,” Franks explained in an interview with Rabble, “then they need to have high environmental and social standards and collaborate with communities.”

While greater control over these projects may be enough for some communities, many others are saying “no” altogether to extraction. And the cost of such resistance should not be minimized either. In 40 percent of the projects researched in this study, at least one person died as a result of physical protest. But knowing that these deaths are not in vain, that they are actually part of successful movements, casts new light on resistance efforts.

Take, for instance, the recent crackdown by Guatamalan police forces on the peaceful protesters who have been blocking the entrance to El Tambor gold mine for over two years. According to the blog MiMundo.org, police violently evicted the locals so that heavy machinery could be introduced to the industrial site. What might normally be considered a tragic scene — women singing and praying until they were faced with tear gas, and others were injured and detained — can now be seen in the broader context of imposing serious costs to the mining industry, costs that could eventually kill the project.

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Why I Will Not Submit to Arrest, Or, the Problem With Moral Mondays

 

  • Civil disobedience is a powerful tool for protest, and a badge of honor in Raleigh. But our author wants none of it.
  •  by Amy Laura Hall

    Amy Laura Hall is an ordained Methodist elder, an Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at Duke Divinity School. Her most recent book is Conceiving Parenthood: American Protestantistm and the Spirit of Reproduction (Eerdmans, 2007). She blogs here.

     

  • Here in my beloved South, the main characters in our political drama are still men, on the left and the right, wearing clerical collars and officers’ uniforms. Moral Mondays have now started up again in North Carolina, and I am asking hard questions about how to teach my daughters to be brave in a political world run by men.

    My youngest daughter and I had a confusing argument on the way home from Raleigh a few weeks ago. I had brought her with me to a meeting about wage theft in the restaurant industry. She was ostensibly doing homework while the grown-ups strategized, but she left inspired. “I want to go to the next protest, and get arrested!” I explained she was not old enough to make that decision, and that she could be brave in other ways. She was disgusted.  “I am TOO old enough to get arrested, and I want to do something REAL!”  (Emphasis in the original.)

    Where did my daughter get the idea that being arrested is the only REAL way to witness? She learned this last summer, at Moral Mondays in Raleigh. Many of my friends had discerned their conscience and participated in the weekly liturgy of orderly resistance. [See, for example, Willie James Jennings' essay in RD, "Becoming the Common." –the Eds.] I am not sorry she and I attended the rallies together. I am sorry she left with the message that the only real way to work for justice is to line up according to instruction, put her hands behind her back, and be led toward a police vehicle.

    My older daughter was hitting adolescence when Barack Obama ran for his first term in 2008.  I am a “yellow dog democrat,” and, for the previous two elections, I had checked the box while holding my nose against bad doggie breath. This election was different. I was inspired. Pundit after pundit told us Obama was a pragmatist, but his campaign was an experience of networked optimism.

    The name “Obama” was divisive in many neighborhoods across North Carolina, but in Durham, North Carolina his sign in your yard meant hopeful solidarity across the unbridgeable divides of race. It was a heady, heart-felt time for us, as we wrote letters and knocked door to door. But my daughter said something right after President Obama won that gave me pause. She woke up on November 5 with a deflated sense of purpose. She was going to miss being a part of a giant project for, well . . . hope itself.

    “Maybe I should become a football fan. Now I understand why people want to have a team!”

    Even though she had been working phones and licking stamps with other girls and women for over a year, she had been training for a relatively short, exciting game—a game with a charismatic, masculine leader.

    During that mommy moment, a video came up in my MTV-cluttered brain. The first time I saw the video for Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality” I was a sophomore in college. The video shows a little girl bathed in the glow of the TV as she watches a montage of Kennedy, Mussolini, Gandhi, Stalin, and Malcolm X—a strong warning to little girls (and others) about the cult of male charisma that often comes with large movements.

    I was originally confused by the song. Why loop together such good leaders with such tyrannically bad leaders? And did they really mention the Nobel Prize in a negative valence? Fifteen years later, and I was an avowedly feminist mother raising two daughters during an era of global, economic misery and war. Forget tampons and mascara. I needed to pay closer attention to the gender politics of leadership.

    Fast-forward to the present, and my participation in Moral Mondays last summer. I drove from central Durham to downtown Raleigh Monday after Monday because I wanted to be with other brave people who had a clue about the ALEC-funded poop-storm we are in as a purple, battle-ground state. I met a librarian who reminded us to smile for the police cameras, because we were, she explained, being recorded for facial recognition data-banking. I listened to teachers talk to each other about whether or not to post anything on social media, because they knew a teacher who’d been reprimanded for attending.  I cheered on the Raging Grannies, who have memories of protesting other wars that took young men and women violently and nonsensically from this world.

    Basically, I went because of the conversations around the stage, not so much because of the speakers on the stage. I met fabulous women from all over North Carolina eager to register our daring, determined hope against the hired bullies who have declared a cynical war against their own people. But, in all of this, I was clear about one thing. I was not going to be instructed in orderly disobedience toward arrest. I wasn’t going to follow directions and put my hands behind my back and appear calm while a police officer handcuffed me and led me away. That seemed, in my gut, the wrong message to send to my daughters.

    As we enter this second summer, I am concerned about both the public ritual of compliant arrest and a growing cult of personality at Moral Mondays. It doesn’t matter to me that the personality around whom the cult is forming is a truly good one. Rev. Dr. William Barber seems to be a wonderful and genuine human being working for beautifully fruitful change. But a movement revolving around one central hero is not conducive to the long-game sort of work toward equality and democracy. And a movement revolving around one central, authoritative, masculine, politically and religiously charismatic hero is simply not true to the best of Southern populism. At our best, people in the South have agitated for change in break rooms, classrooms, prison yards and such, pausing for rallies rather than mistaking rallies for the real thing.

    While well-orchestrated arrests of large groups, at the instruction of a religious leader, may have the power of nostalgia, egalitarian democracy requires other models.

    It also does not matter to me whether the desire for moral heroism is just contagious or subtly encouraged and exploited. There are instances here of both. There are white men without prior records and/or with personal and political connections striding around with barely concealed pride for being arrested with an African-American man of authority. Some of these white men will eventually use their proximity to Rev. Dr. Barber and the abiding culture of muscular heroism in the South to write sermons and books about racial reconciliation and go on well-publicized lecture tours.

    There are also men and women who are not seeking street credibility, but who are caught up in the chance to be a part of a righteous team with a legitimate, morally unambiguous leader.  It is a heady, heart-felt sort of thing, as well as the sort of thing ripe for manipulation and self-promotion. That is part of the problem with the sort of organizing effort we usually call a “movement.”

    I will be attending Moral Monday events this summer. I will also keep speaking the truth about North Carolina as I see it, with my daughters and with anyone else who wants to visit. I will learn from women who see through the allure of personality and heroism and do the work of justice without public credit.

    I will also pray that Moral Mondays will shift away from the form of a high-pulpit, Southern church service toward the cacophony of democracy.

    Here I think about the sometimes joyful, sometimes anguished form of democracy that arose when police officers joined firefighters, hotel housekeepers, postal workers, and teachers to resist the tyranny of other ALEC-funded bullies across the Midwest a few years ago. It seems time for us to ‘pull a Wisconsin’ here in the Tar Heel state, with or without hymns.

    And, when I do attend rallies this summer, I will not be told when to dance or how to pray or when to put my hands behind my back and submit. I’m too free these days for that. I was liberated by a God who put on an apron, washed dirty feet, and preferred the periphery to the stage.

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