Report back from the land of Mega Hydro

Red Clover Climate Justice visits proposed Hydro-Quebec dam sites, meets with Innu resisting Plan Nord and dams along the Romaine River.

This past week, members of Burlington, Vt-based Red Clover Climate Justice traveled to the northern shore of the St. Lawrence River to meet with Innu organizers and visit the dams that power Quebec’s-and much of Vermont’s-economy.

What we found didn’t fit in with the rhetoric we often hear about Hydro-Quebec.  Dead rivers, swaths of clear-cut forests giving way to the endless march of gargantuan transmission lines, aluminum smelters, and fractured indigenous communities in the middle of a bitter struggle for the survival of the Innu culture.  All of these images didn’t add up to what is often advertised to Quebecers and Vermonters as “green energy” and “sustainable development.”

Check back for more photo essays and stories from our trip north as we begin to mobilize in opposition to the New England Governor’s Conference, coming to Burlington at the end of July.


Finance for biodiversity is a “new face for capitalism”: Sign on letter to CBD from Acción Ecológica

(GEAR has been following the development of financing options for carbon, ecosystem services, and biodiversity market schemes at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and in other fora.  Resistance to carbon trading and similarly absurd proposals such as biodiversity ‘offsets’  has been growing, and will be a central part of social movements’ attempts to prevent green-washed neoliberalism from advancing this summer at the Rio+20 conference.  Beware the “green economy”…the GEAR Media Team)

Cross-posted from REDD-Monitor and Acción Ecológica

From 6-9 March 2012, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Governments of Ecuador, India, Japan, Norway and Sweden will be holding a Global Dialogue Seminar on Scaling up Finance for Biodiversity. The meeting will take place in Quito, Ecuador.


On 6 to 9 March 2012 the Global Dialogue Seminar on Scaling Up Finance for Biodiversity, co-hosted by the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Governments of Ecuador, India, Japan, Norway and Sweden, will be held in Quito, Ecuador with the aim of exploring financial mechanisms and resources for biodiversity. This is part of an agreement among the signatory countries to the Convention on Biological Diversity to mobilize financing to facilitate implementation of a strategic plan and the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, in which Strategic Goal D aims to enhance the benefits from biodiversity as a commodity and from environmental services. The meeting in Quito is one more step in this direction.

In the midst of the current environmental, financial and economic crisis, biodiversity has gained enormous importance because of the role it can play for the “green economy”, which will be consolidated through the agreements reached at the upcoming Rio+20 summit. This economic proposal is nothing more than a new face for capitalism, through which biodiversity, water, soils, biogeochemical cycles, photosynthesis, and all the other functions and structures of nature can be converted into commodities.

Forming part of this process are the false solutions to climate change such as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and so-called TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity). A tangled web of proposals that essentially seek control over land, forests, water and biodiversity as means to compensate for the loss of biodiversity or as raw materials for new technologies.

In practice, they promote the implementation of neoliberal measures to address the climate problem, biodiversity management and protection of forests. They extol the paradigm that the solution lies in the market, in property rights, in the proper assignment of prices and the commodification of all of nature, traditional knowledge and cultures associated with it, to the detriment of justice, sovereignty and respect for human rights and the rights of nature.

At the meeting in Quito, as well as during the run-up to Rio+20 and at the CBD COP-11 in India, steps will be taken to define the financial instruments, policies and public-private partnerships needed to achieve the biggest land grab and trampling of people’s rights ever seen in the history of humanity. Due to the scale and sphere of action, what is proposed will have devastating effects on territories and rights.

Just as the Green Climate Fund is aimed at promoting market mechanisms to ineffectively confront the climate crisis, financing for biodiversity is being diverted towards means of privatization and control of biodiversity.

With the same discourses of poverty relief, conservation and sustainability that have benefited the industrial, military and financial sectors, they are once again trying to convince us that the “green economy”, promoted by the same actors, is the solution.

In view of this situation, we the undersigned organizations, networks and social movements urge the governments hosting the meeting in Quito to stop the commodification of nature; likewise, we call on the participants in the meeting to prevent the further advance of the green economy that is being hatched and to act instead in line with models of society that differ from the capitalist system and are built on the principles of community and on relationships with nature based on the protection of life.



To sign on to the letter please write to:
with a copy to: