Liviya James

Flash Mob Infects Pharma Conference with Spirit Of Change

Hey, hey, ho, ho, pharma pollution has got to go!

Draped with artificial bacteria that have been known to show resistance—purple balls of MRSA, yellow fuzzy tassels of E. coli—a flash mob of dancers helped kick off a day of action to stop pharmaceutical manufacturing pollution. The activists started at Philadelphia City Hall, then marched to the Conference Center where CPhI North America, one of the largest pharmaceutical conferences in the world, was taking place.

Photo: Cameron Harris

Activists and pharmaceutical executives met on the sidewalk. Signatories of the Industry Roadmap, which promises action by 2020 on this issue, handed activists their card; various conference attendees stopped to watch the dance. It was an opportunity to engage directly with pharmaceutical manufacturers on manufacturing pollution, which they have in their power to eliminate.

 

Photo: Kristen Tomokowid/Little But Fierce
Photo: Cameron Harris

After the dance, we asked Philadelphians to show their support by tweeting at the conference and jamming their social media feed with calls to stop #pharmapollution. We were delighted by the volume of love our cause received, not just on Twitter but on Facebook and Instagram. Side note: there’s still time to sign our petition.

Read more about the action in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Within the last ten years, pharmaceutical manufacturing pollution has been recognized as a contributor to the rise of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.” Bacteria overexposed to the antibiotics in factory effluent can develop resistance to those antibiotics and then proliferate.

Though most of these polluting factories are in India and China, where the bulk of antibiotics taken in the U.S. are produced, resistance grown abroad can easily pass over our borders. In the past year, a patient in Pennsylvania was diagnosed with the first Colistin-resistant infection in the U.S. (a strain commonly found in China). A patient in Nevada died after an India-acquired infection failed to respond to 26 different antibiotics.

The Philadelphia action is part of a broader campaign to stop pharmaceutical pollution that drives the development and spread of superbugs. The goal is to encourage major US retailers like CVS Health to eliminate serial polluters from their supply chains. Aurobindo, an Indian manufacturer, has been identified as one of the worst actors on antibiotic manufacturing pollution. The manufacturer has relationships with CVS Health, Walmart, and McKesson.

Photo: Cameron Harris

We’d like to thank all the dancers and activists that supported us on Wednesday, whether in person or online. If our grassroots action didn’t catch pharma’s attention, this definitely will: right now, Rep. Louise Slaughter of New York is circulating a sign-on memo calling attention to this issue. Together, we can help close the back door to resistance and stop superbugs NOW.

Featured photo Kristen Tomkowid/Little But Fierce


Still At It

May 2017

The "Still At It" investigation found that agriculture giants Cargill and Bunge driving new deforestation the size of about 10,000 football fields in Latin America– just months after these companies were linked to deforestation at the same sites in Bolivia’s Amazon basin and Brazil’s vast Cerrado savannah forest.

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Still At It

Still At It

Cargill and Bunge Caught Destroying the Equivalent of 10,000 Football Fields for the Global Meat Trade

Read the Report:

McDonald’s, Danone, Supermarkets Express Support for Action, but are Still Linked to Deforestation

WASHINGTON D.C., May 18, 2017- A new investigation by Mighty Earth utilized satellite imagery to find agriculture giants Cargill and Bunge driving new deforestation the size of about 10,000 football fields in Latin America– just months after these companies were linked to deforestation at the same sites in Bolivia’s Amazon basin and Brazil’s vast Cerrado savannah forest.

In the wake of the first investigation, those companies and their large corporate customers had pledged to act to prevent further deforestation, but the new evidence shows that their actions so far have been inadequate.

In just this small sample of South America’s soy belt, Mighty Earth’s investigation found a total of 60 square kilometers of new clearance (equivalent to approximately 10,000 football fields) on the farms it visited for the initial investigation, as well as 120 square kilometers of planned clearance—land that has been prepared to be bulldozed.

Cargill and Bunge – which supply feed for the chickens, pigs, and cattle that end up on dinner plates around the world – have so far obstructed efforts to extend their own highly effective forest protection system that has been running for 10 years in the Brazilian Amazon to the other soy-growing regions where they operate: the Bolivian Amazon, Brazil’s Cerrado, Paraguay and Argentina.

Meanwhile, major brands have called on Cargill and Bunge to act: after seeing the results of the investigation, companies including McDonald’s, Unilever, Walmart/Asda, Ahold, Carrefour, Mars Petcare, Dunkin’ Brands, Kellogg’s, Marks + Spencer, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Nestlé, have all stated their support for joint action, as have Cargill and Bunge’s competitors ADM, Louis Dreyfus and Wilmar. They join investors representing more than half a trillion dollars in assets under management, as well as the Brazilian Environment Minister.

“The tragedy of this continued deforestation is that it’s completely unnecessary,” said Glenn Hurowitz, CEO of Mighty Earth. “Cargill, Burger King, and the other food and agriculture companies have proven that they can expand agriculture production without sacrificing forests, but they’ve so far refused to do this. The ongoing, landscape-scale forest destruction of ecosystems illustrates the urgency for a comprehensive, effective solution.”

According to World Resources Institute, there are approximately 500 million acres of previously deforested and degraded land across Latin America and agriculture can be expanded on much of this land without sacrificing intact forests. Under the existing Soy Moratorium, Cargill, Bunge, ADM, Louis Dreyfus and others have been able to expand soy production by more than six million acres without sacrificing forests.

“We’ve seen in the Brazilian Amazon that soy crop expansion without deforestation is possible,” said Sharon Smith of the Union of Concerned Scientists.  “Yet, industrial soy continues to expand at the expense of forests outside of the Brazilian Amazon. It is unnecessary, short-sighted and destructive to native ecosystems. Soy traders and their customers have an opportunity now to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains in other soy-growing regions.  It’s a win-win for the environment, for the climate, and for consumers when these agricultural giants expand only onto previously cleared land.”

It’s estimated that extending the existing forest protection system to the other soy growing areas in South America would cost less than $1 million per year, or 1/75,000th the value of the global soy trade.

About Mighty Earth

Mighty Earth is a global environmental campaign organization that works to protect forests, conserve oceans, and address climate change. We work in Southeast Asia, Latin America, Africa, and North America to drive large-scale action towards environmentally responsible agriculture that protects native ecosystems, wildlife, and water, and respects local community rights.  Mighty Earth’s global team has played a decisive role in persuading the world’s largest food and agriculture companies to dramatically improve their environmental and social policies and practices. More information on Mighty Earth can be found at http://www.mightyearth.org/.


Forest Stewardship Council Accepts Mighty Earth’s Formal Complaint Against Korindo

Extensive deforestation breaches FSC policy, Company should no longer be able to sell certified timber and paper

UPDATE- June 2, 2017: Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) notified Mighty Earth that our complaint against agribusiness Korindo was officially accepted for investigation. Their acceptance note stated, “With this email we would like to inform you that, after an internal assessment of the complaint submission (including the additional information provided and the related investigation report “Burning Paradise”), FSC International has decided to accept the PfA complaint filed by Mighty against the Korindo group.”

BONN, Germany, May 15, 2017-- Mighty Earth has submitted a complaint today to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a global sustainable forestry certification body, regarding agribusiness Korindo’s deforestation activities. The complaint presents compelling evidence confirming that since 2013 Korindo’s oil palm companies have been responsible for clearing over 30,000 hectares (ha) of Indonesian rainforests in Papua and North Maluku.

Under the ‘Policy for the Association of Organizations with FSC’ (1), companies are prohibited from clearing more than 10,000 hectares of forests over the past five-years across their operations. The FSC policy aims to prevent its certificate holders from conducting such ‘unacceptable forest-related activities [which are] ‘harmful to FSC’s reputation’.

The FSC policy also prohibits clearing areas classified as High Conservation Value Forests, such as primary forests. Korindo oil palm companies have cleared at least 11,700 ha of primary forests since 2013. In addition, it requires Korindo companies to “uphold the legal and customary rights of local communities,” which the group is failing to do on its operations in North Maluku and parts of Papua. To see the full complaint, click here.

“Korindo has not earned the good reputation that comes along with holding FSC certification and has violated the trust of its wood products customers who believed that the certification brought assurances of sustainability,” said Deborah Lapidus, Campaign Director with Mighty Earth. “We call on the FSC to fully investigate Korindo’s violations of the Policy for Association, and take steps to terminate Korindo’s FSC certificates until it strictly complies with its standards.”

As a result of the complaint, four of Korindo’s forest products companies located in Indonesia (PT. Korintiga Hutani, PT. Aspex Kumbong, PT. Korindo Abadi Asike, and PT. Korindo Ariabima Sari), stand to have their FSC certificates revoked. This could put some of Korindo’s timber trade in jeopardy from suspension by buyers seeking FSC-certified products. For example, Korindo’s pulpwood buyers include the Japanese companies Oji Holdings (also Korindo’s Korintiga Hutani joint venture partner) and Marubeni Corporation. A coalition of Japanese organizations is working to ensure that only FSC certified wood is used in the construction of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo—a standard that should preclude Korindo’s products from being accepted in light of this complaint. Korindo also sells plywood to the Dubai-based Transcontinental Identing company.

The complaint follows several months of work by Mighty Earth and a coalition of allied organizations in Indonesia, South Korea, and across the Globe, following the September 2016 release of a report entitled Burning Paradise (2), which documented through satellite analysis and field investigation Korindo’s deforestation of 30,000 ha and over 900 fire hotspots since 2013 on its palm oil plantations in Papua and North Maluku, Indonesia.  In response to global media exposure and pressure from its customers, Korindo announced a moratorium on forest clearing on December 1st, 2016, but then quickly breached this commitment throughout January and February 2017 by carving roads over 3,100 ha of forest and clearing 1,000 ha at its PT Papua Agro Lestari oil palm concession in Papua.  Despite reinstating the moratorium and agreeing to submit its sustainability assessments for independent quality review, Korindo has yet to provide the data needed for the reviews to commence and has failed to adopt a comprehensive Group-wide policy to implement zero deforestation and protect human rights.

“Until Korindo can delink its operations from deforestation and land rights violations, it should not be able to get away with carrying a green FSC label on its products,” said Ms. Lapidus. “Korindo’s slogan, ‘Green Tomorrow’, says it all. For the FSC to maintain its credibility, it needs to require Korindo to clean up its operations today, not tomorrow.”

About Mighty Earth

Mighty Earth is a global environmental campaign organization that works to protect forests, conserve oceans, and address climate change. We work in Southeast Asia, Latin America, Africa, and North America to drive large-scale action towards environmentally responsible agriculture that protects native ecosystems, wildlife, and water, and respects local community rights.  Mighty Earth’s global team has played a decisive role in persuading the world’s largest food and agriculture companies to dramatically improve their environmental and social policies and practices. More information on Mighty Earth can be found at http://www.mightyearth.org/.

Notes to Editor:

  • The ‘Policy for the Association of Organizations with FSC’ is available here.
  • Mighty’s report on Korindo’s palm oil activities is available here.

Deforestation in Papua: Meet the Animals at Risk

Papua, Indonesia is a biodiversity hot spot put at risk by irresponsible palm oil industry expansion. The 2016 environmental and social report from PT. Bio Inti Agrindo (BIA), a subsidiary of palm oil giant Posco Daewoo, discovered these IUCN-listed endangered species within their concessions. These are the Papuan wildlife that could be wiped out if oil palm plantation expansion continues unabated.

Blue tailed bee eater by Dhruvaraj S

Birds

  1. Great Billed Parrot
  2. Indonesian Wandering Whistling Duck
  3. Black Coucal Bird
  4. Blue Bird of Paradise
  5. Red-backed Sea Eagle
  6. Swamp Harrier
  7. Brown Hawk
  8. Crow
  9. Hooded Butcherbird
  10. Cockatoo
  11. Southern Cassowary
  12. Green Parrot
  13. Intermediate Egret
  14. Victoria Crowned Pigeon
  15. Knobbed Hornbills
  16. Sooty-headed bulbul
  17. Malaysian pied fantail
  18. Blue-tailed bee-eater
Tree Kangaroo by Richard Ashurst

Mammals

  1. Bat
  2. Deer
  3. Squirrel
  4. Flying Squirrel
  5. Wallabies
  6. Tree Kangaroo
  7. Cuscus
  8. Wild Boar
Brown tree snake by Pavel Kirillov

Amphibians and Reptiles

  1. Monitor Lizards
  2. Estuary Crocodile
  3. Chameleon
  4. Lizard
  5. Many-Striped Skink
  6. Four foot snake
  7. Papuan Black Snake
  8. New Guinea Death Adder (snake)
  9. Death Adder (snake)
  10. Black Snake
  11. Tree Snake
  12. Rattlesnake
  13. Sideneck Turtle

Featured image: Knobbed Hornbill by Olaf Oliviero Riemer


Major Anti-Climate Provision Added to the Omnibus Appropriations Bill

The just-released Omnibus Appropriations bill includes a controversial provision that declares burning of biomass for electricity carbon neutral – counting it as an equivalent to truly clean energy sources like solar and wind power, even though biomass greenhouse gas emissions generate approximately 150% the emissions of coal and 300-400% those of natural gas per unit of energy produced. The provision is expected to inhibit the development of the solar and wind industries, and also contribute to increased levels of conventional air pollutions. Ramping up electricity production from forest biomass would take vast amounts of tree and woody material. The proposed conversion of the Boardman plant in Oregon from coal to biomass would require 3.8 million tons of biomass a year, which would be sourced from national forests.

In response, Henry Waxman, Chairman of Mighty Earth, said:

“Just because Congress says burning trees for electricity is carbon neutral doesn’t mean that it is. This provision repeats some of the same mistakes in the Renewable Fuel Standard that has had massive unintended negative consequences for forests, the climate, and consumers. By incentivizing dirty energy, this policy will disadvantage truly clean renewables like wind and solar.

"This provision is a blatant attack on science. Science clearly shows that burning of trees for electricity produces far more pollution than even coal. Congress should leave climate science to the scientists.

"The policy also sets an example for rainforest nations, suggesting that somehow burning forests is a solution to climate change. As such, this policy plays into the hands of some of the world’s worst forest destroyers.”

For additional background, see Chairman Waxman’s op-ed on this topic in The Hill.

Other resources:

Partnership for Policy Integrity Study:  “Carbon emissions from burning biomass for energy”

New York Times: “Next ‘Renewable Energy’: Burning Forests, if Senators Get Their Way”

Oregon Sierra Club Study: PGE Tests Biomass at Boardman Coal Plant - New Report Highlights Climate and Forest Consequences for Country's Largest Biomass Proposal

Featured photo: © CEphoto, Uwe Aranas


Gabon: gruppo Olam apre più grande fabbrica olio palma d'Africa

Ag.it | Apr. 14, 2017

E' la più grande fabbrica olio di palma in Africa il complesso industriale inaugurato in questi giorni nella piantagione di Mouila, in Gabon, dal gruppo asiatico Olam.

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Gabon : Olam ouvre sa plus grande usine d’huile de palme sur le continent

Jeune Afrique | Apr. 13, 2017

Régulièrement accusé de favoriser la déforestation, le géant singapourien de l'agro-alimentaire Olam a annoncé avoir ouvert le mardi 11 avril au Gabon sa plus grande usine d'huile de palme en Afrique.

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Skovene fældes med stadig større hast i Sydamerika

Information | Apr. 5, 2017

I 1990’erne lykkedes det at bremse den værste afskovning i Amazonas. Nu fældes de sydamerikanske skove igen med alarmerende hast, og en af de store syndere er Burger King, hævder miljøorganisationer i ny rapport.

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How Burger King's Palm Oil Addiction Is Devastating Local Communities—and Planet Earth

Alternet | Mar. 29, 2017

Burger King is at the front of the pack of corporations abusing human rights and the environment to satisfy its appetite for palm oil.

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Como a destruição do Cerrado pode fazer faltar água no Brasil inteiro

Epoca | Mar. 27, 2017

O Distrito Federal vive sua mais severa crise hídrica em anos. O problema é uma das consequências da devastação das nascentes no Cerrado – um bioma que abastece a maior parte do país.

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