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For indigenous protesters, defending the environment can be fatal

Adán Vez Lira, a prominent defender of an ecological reserve in Mexico, was shot while riding his motorcycle in April. Four years earlier, the renowned activist Berta Cáceres was shot dead in her home in Honduras by assailants taking direction from executives responsible for a dam she had opposed. Four years before that, Cambodian forest and land activist Chut Wutty was killed during a brawl with the country’s military police while investigating illegal logging.

These are some of the most prominent examples of violence faced by environmental activists in recent years — but, according to a new report, they are not unusual. As police crack down on protests demanding justice and equity in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in the U.S., it’s clear that activism in general comes at a heavy price. Environmental activists specifically — particularly indigenous activists and activists of color — have for years faced high rates of criminalization, physical violence, and even murder for their efforts to protect the planet, according to a comprehensive analysis by researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, which was released last Tuesday.

The researchers analyzed nearly 2,800 social conflicts related to the environment using the Environmental Justice Atlas (EJAtlas) database, which they created in 2011 to monitor environmental conflicts around the world. The study, published in the journal Global Environmental Change, found that 20 percent of environmental defenders faced criminal charges or were imprisoned, 18 percent were victims of physical violence, and 13 percent were killed between 2011 and 2019. The likelihood of these consequences increased significantly for indigenous environmental defenders: 27 percent faced criminalization, 25 percent were victims of physical violence, and 19 percent were murdered.

“We can think of this as compounded injustice, highlighting the extreme risks vulnerable communities opposing social and environmental violence against them face when they stand up for their rights,” one of the study’s researchers, Leah Temper, told Grist.

Environmental defenders, as the researchers defined them, are individuals or collectives that mobilize and protest against unsustainable or harmful uses of the environment. Examples of the sort of conflict covered by the study are the construction of pipelines on tribal lands, illegal mining in the Amazon rainforest, oil extraction in the Arctic, and the construction of fossil fuel refineries.

The analysis draws on last year’s report from the human rights and environmental watchdog organization Global Witness, which found that at least 164 environmental activists were killed in 2018 alone. The Philippines was named the deadliest country in the world for environmental defenders, who have been called terrorists by President Rodrigo Duterte.

In fact, not long after these findings, 37-year-old Brandon Lee, an American environmental activist who was in the Philippines on a volunteer mission, was shot four times in Ifugao province by unknown assailants after his group, the Ifugao Peasant Movement — a farmers group opposing a hydropower project — had been labeled an “enemy of the state” across social media by propagandists. As of April, Lee was recovering in his hometown of San Francisco, but he remains paralyzed from the chest down.

The lead author of last week’s study, Arnim Scheidel, said he hopes that the analysis gives lawmakers and the public a better understanding of the causes of the violence that protesters still face around the world.

“Globally, indigenous peoples suffer significantly higher rates of violence in environmental conflicts,” Scheidel said. “Being aware of these connections may help to connect struggles against various forms of racism worldwide. Protest is key for the success of such struggles, particularly when using diverse channels and building on broad alliances.”

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For indigenous protesters, defending the environment can be fatal

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Who’s financing deforestation in Papua New Guinea? A new report follows the money.

Papua New Guinea has one of the largest expanses of tropical rainforest on the planet. But in recent years the island nation just north of Australia has seen a surge in deforestation from logging and mining, which has threatened to release large stores of carbon into the atmosphere.

Deforestation has left behind patches of bare land across the country, and indigenous communities bear the brunt of the environmental consequences. Many are wary of companies that clear the land without providing something to the local community in return. So in 2017, when the Malaysian timber company Maxland secured a permit to clear rainforest on the country’s Manus Island, it promised to plant three to five million rubber trees and said it would benefit nearby communities through jobs, royalty payments, and improved infrastructure.

Critics say that Maxland is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. According to a new report released this month by the human rights and environmental watchdog Global Witness, Maxland has not planted a single rubber tree, despite being two years into its five-year contract. Instead, the report claims that the company has prioritized illegal logging and exporting the island’s valuable hardwood timber, raking in millions of dollars in the process.

What’s more, Global Witness discovered that the company is linked to some of the world’s most prominent financial institutions, including BlackRock — the planet’s largest asset manager — which announced in January that it would place sustainability at the center of its investment approach and divest from companies that present significant climate-related risks. The non-governmental organization’s investigation found that BlackRock is among the top 20 shareholders of the three banks financing Maxland’s “mother company,” the Joinland Group, a Malaysian conglomerate with a history of logging projects in Papua New Guinea.

Norway’s $1 trillion Government Pension Fund Global, which just last week decided to blacklist large coal-dependent companies from its portfolio, is also among the top 20 shareholders of those banks — despite the fact that it publicly divested from a slew of companies tied to deforestation last year. Other financial supporters include The Vanguard Group, T. Rowe Price Associates, and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS). At the time of Global Witness’ analysis, these financial institutions had hundreds of millions of dollars tied to the banks that made Maxland’s Manus Island project possible.

“It’s broadly understood now that unregulated finance is contributing to climate change by propping up the fossil fuel industry, and the same is true of the financing of industries involving deforestation,” said Lela Stanley, the lead investigator for the Global Witness report. “Ordinary people whose savings are invested with these financiers may be unwittingly connected as well.”

Grist reached out to BlackRock for comment on how this fits into their sustainability goals but did not receive a response in time for publication. In an email to Grist, a spokesperson for the Norweigan pension fund said that, in 2019, it continued “dialogue with banks in Southeast Asia on their policies for lending to companies that contribute to deforestation.” The Vanguard Group told Global Witness it would incorporate the report into its “ongoing analysis with the companies in question.” T. Rowe Price did not comment on its specific investments, but it told Global Witness that environmental and social factors were key components in its investment approach. Meanwhile, CalPERS declined Grist’s request for comment.

Maxland’s Manus Island venture, the Pohowa Integrated Agro-Forestry Project, has frustrated the indigenous residents of Manus Island, according to Global Witness. The local villages are still in dire need of critical infrastructure and services such as major roads, as well as additional air and water transportation options. Some villages are nestled between the rainforest and the sea — and the only way to reach the main market in the island’s port and provincial capital on the opposite side of the island is by boat, which requires a fare and takes two hours each way.

Maxland promised residents that it would build a road to make their lives easier, while also culling the forest and replacing it with millions of rubber trees that would potentially open up rubber farming jobs. Many locals thought it was a good deal, but when Global Witness visited the site in October 2019, Maxland seemed to have failed to deliver on its promises. The investigators did observe a few thousand rubber seedlings on the far side of Manus Island, on a site that did not belong to Maxland, but they appeared neglected and were in poor condition. And by that time, the company had already exported nearly 19 thousand cubic meters of hardwood timber worth roughly $1.8 million to China and Japan.

Josephine Kenni, the head of Papua New Guinea’s National Rubber Board, which manages the rubber industry in the country, told Global Witness that 60,000 more rubber seedlings were expected to arrive from Malaysia by the end of May. However, Kenni also told Global Witness that Maxland was violating the law and the board’s project plan. As of April, Global Witness received local reports confirming that no rubber has yet been planted at the project site. However, a huge logging camp appeared to be operating in full swing, with water tanks emblazoned with Joinland’s company name and a petrol station to serve the company’s fleet of trucks.

Thomas Hah, a Malaysian entrepreneur and founder of the Joinland Group, responded to Global Witness by denying its findings and warning that the organization would receive “an official letter” from his lawyer. (Hah did not reply to Grist’s request for comment in time for publication.)

“For your information, all our projects in Papua New Guinea are granted by the National Forest Authority,” Hah said in an email to Global Witness. “We reserve our legal rights towards any baseless and false allegations.”

The approval of Maxland’s permits was initially rejected by the Provincial Forest Management Committee. However, Papua New Guinea’s National Forest Authority overruled that decision and issued a permit, as Hah noted, despite what Global Witness determined to be the company’s violation of the Forestry Act, which requires permit applicants to submit “evidence of past experience in any agriculture or other land use developments.” Maxland lacks prior experience with rubber plantations, according to the report. On top of that, an earlier Global Witness report documented Maxland’s parent company Joinland performing a similar logging operation on the island of New Hanover.

Since Maxland laid eyes on Manus Island, the company worked hard to court and gain the trust of major players and leaders on the island. The report found that Maxland bought houses for public officials in the area and paid police officers to perform private security functions (a relatively common practice for logging companies that set up shop in the country).

For now, Global Witness told Grist it hopes the report will spur the government of Papua New Guinea into action.

“We hope … that this report prompts the government to thoroughly investigate this instance,” Stanely said, “and to finally enforce its own laws that protect the land and forests that its rural communities depend on.”

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Who’s financing deforestation in Papua New Guinea? A new report follows the money.

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What Really Causes Global Warming? – Peter Langdon Ward Ph.D


What Really Causes Global Warming?

Greenhouse Gases or Ozone Depletion?

Peter Langdon Ward Ph.D

Genre: Science & Nature

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: December 1, 2015

Publisher: Morgan James Publishing

Seller: OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC

A thought-provoking look at the unsettled science of global warming—from a former volcanologist, geophysicist, and US Geological Survey scientist.   Thousands of scientists are convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that recent global warming is being caused by emissions of greenhouse gases and that we must act immediately to reduce these emissions or else we may render Earth unlivable for our children and grandchildren. Some even say “the science is settled.”   What Really Causes Global Warming? examines a broad range of observations that show that greenhouse warming theory is not only misguided, but not physically possible. Recent warming was caused by ozone depletion due to emissions of human-manufactured gases. We solved that problem with the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer stopping the increase in global temperatures by 1998. Volcanoes also deplete ozone. The eruption of Bárðarbunga volcano in central Iceland from August 2014 to February 2015―the largest effusive, basaltic, volcanic eruption since 1783―caused 2015 to be the hottest year on record. How can we adapt?

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What Really Causes Global Warming? – Peter Langdon Ward Ph.D

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Remember the rainforests? We still haven’t saved them.

Every half hour, the world lost a football-field chunk of tropical forest in 2018.

Over the course of the year, that added up to a total forest loss of nearly 30 million acres, an area the size of Pennsylvania, according to the World Resources Institute’s annual report, out Thursday. As bad as that sounds, many more acres were lost in each of the two previous years, when huge fires wiped out millions of trees. The report is hardly cause for celebration, said Frances Seymour, senior fellow at WRI.

“The world’s forests are in the emergency room, said Seymour. “Even though they are recovering from extensive burns suffered in recent fires, the patient is also bleeding profusely from fresh wounds.”

Global Forest Watch

Deforestation is responsible for about 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. If deforestation were a country, it would be the third largest source of carbon pollution, after the United States and China.

“Tropical forest loss pulls the rug out from under efforts to stabilize the global climate,” Seymour said.

Every year, WRI’s Global Forest Watch pores over satellite images of the world’s woodlands and reams of data to monitor where trees are falling. Here are a few bullet points from the report:

Old growth deforestation continues: Primary or old-growth rainforest stores a lot of carbon in big trees and a lot of biodiversity — the frogs, bromeliads, lichens, leafcutter ants, and lemurs that live in those big trees. Since 2000, we’ve been losing about the same amount of primary rainforest every year: A Belgium-sized 9 million acres.

And it’s spreading: Efforts in Indonesia and Brazil to stem the loss of old-growth forests have started to work. By enforcing a moratorium on clearing primary forest, Indonesia has managed to bring deforestation down to the lowest level since 2003, said Belinda Margono from Indonesia’s Department of Environment and Forestry. But forests are falling at a quicker pace in West Africa, Colombia, Bolivia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Big trouble in Madagascar: The East Africane East African island island country lost a full 2 percent of its primary forest, more than any other country.

Peace brings cattle to Colombia: A truce between the government and between the government and rebels made it safe for farmers to enter previously perilous forests. Now they’re cutting down trees to create pastures for cattle.

Small farmers, big problems: Small-scale farmers (often growing cocoa for chocolate) were responsible for most of the forest loss in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Peru. By contrast, large farms — like those growing soy for China — were the main culprit in Bolivia.

From the distance, these data points might seem abstract, but the numbers represent “heartbreaking losses in real places,” Seymour said. “For every area of forest loss there’s likely a species one inch closer to extinction. And for every area of forest loss there’s likely a family that has lost access to an important part of their daily income from hunting, gathering, and fishing. Such loses pose an existential threat to the cultures of indigenous peoples. And for every area of forest loss there’s likely a community downstream that has less access to clean water and is more exposed to floods and landslides.”

Still, she said she’s optimistic that the world can stop leveling forests. Some countries have radically slowed tree loss by passing and enforcing laws. And the United Nations program that pays developing countries to stop deforestation has worked in the few places where it has been funded, she said.

“We know what to do, we just need to do it,” Seymour said.

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Remember the rainforests? We still haven’t saved them.

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Bill Nye: Climate change is here, and it’s coming for our assets

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The polar vortex is chilling the Midwest, and cable news is using the occasion to talk at length about climate change. CNN’s Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo had a field day tearing down President Trump’s tweet saying the Midwest could use some “Global Waming” — yes, that’s warming with no R — right about now. (F- on science, F+ on spelling.) MSNBC’s Ali Velshi busted out some snazzy graphics to illustrate the rise in CO2 levels in our atmosphere over the long haul, noting the sharp increase in global temperatures as industrialization took off.

Then, Chris Matthews of Hardball brought on a special guest — the Science Guy himself. Bill Nye told him what many of us already know. Climate change is real, and it’s coming for our assets.

Rural, conservative voters are in fact more vulnerable to economic losses from climate change than city dwellers, Nye pointed out. He called out a few agricultural costs of climate change: Food prices will likely go up as farmers struggle to keep up with seasonal pest management, and some U.S. agricultural production may need to shift north “into what would nominally be Canada.” (Well, oops. As Canadians have been quick to point out, Canada is, in fact, Canada.)

The Science Guy definitely got one thing right, though: “The longer we mess around and not address this problem, the more difficult it’s going to be.”


Bill Nye: Climate change is here, and it’s coming for our assets

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Global warming should be called global heating, says key scientist

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This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

“Global heating” is a more accurate term than “global warming” to describe the changes taking place to the world’s climate, according to a key scientist at the U.K. Met Office.

Richard Betts, who leads the climate research arm of Britain’s meteorological monitoring organization, made the comments amid growing evidence that rising temperatures have passed the comfort zone and are now bringing increased threats to humanity.

“Global heating is technically more correct because we are talking about changes in the energy balance of the planet,” the scientist said at the U.N. climate summit in Katowice, Poland. “We should be talking about risk rather than uncertainty.”

Earlier this month, the Met Office produced a new report that showed the searing heatwave that hit the U.K. this summer — along with other parts of the northern hemisphere — was made 30 times more likely by human-caused climate change.

Betts said the shifting climate was pushing some natural processes — such as the blossoming of trees and laying of eggs — out of sync: “That’s already happening. We are also seeing higher temperatures of heatwaves. The kind of thing we saw this year will happen more often.”

“The risks are compounding all the time,” he said. “It stands to reason that the sooner we can take action, the quicker we can rein them in.”

His views were echoed by Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, a professor of theoretical physics and founder of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. He said his recent Hothouse Earth report, which was one of the most widely quoted and downloaded studies of this year, had helped to change the language used to describe the climate crisis.

“Global warming doesn’t capture the scale of destruction. Speaking of hothouse Earth is legitimate,” he said.

The scientists expressed frustration at the slow pace of action by political leaders. In signing the 2015 Paris agreement, governments around the world aimed to keep global warming to within 1.5 to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. But current commitments are far off track.

The Met Office upgraded its forecasts this week to show the planet is on track to warm by between 2.5 degrees C and 4.5 degrees C. “We have broadened out the range of possibilities,” said Betts, who is conducting a risk assessment based on the new projections. In the U.K., he said the trend was toward wetter winters with more floods, hotter summers with more droughts interspersed with increasingly intense rain.

At 3 degrees C of change, Schellnhuber said southern Spain would become part of the Sahara. Even 2 degrees C, he said, could not be guaranteed as safe.

The Paris pact was a firewall, he said: “It’s not helping us to keep the world as it is now. We’ve lost this opportunity already. It’s a firewall against climate chaos.”

Johan Rockström, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, said “cracks” were starting to appear in the climate system that were pushing nature from being a friend that absorbs carbon dioxide to an enemy that releases carbon dioxide. These concerns are fueled by the growing intensity of forest fires, the effect of melting ice-sheets on the jet stream, and the rising risk of permafrost thaw, which would release trapped methane.

Although he stressed it might not yet have passed a tipping point, he said the warnings were getting louder. “This shift from friend to foe is no doubt a scientific nightmare. That is the biggest worry that we have,” he said. “It does terrify me. The only reason we sit here without being completely depressed is that we see we have policy measures and technology to move in the right direction.

“We need to have a diagnosis just like a patient who comes to a doctor and gets a really bad diagnosis. But if the science is right, the technology is right, and the policy is right, you can cure that very dire situation. There is no scientific suggestion that the door is shut.”

This week’s climate talks have crept forward with only small progress toward a new global rulebook, but emissions continue to rise and the planet continues to heat.

“Things are obviously proceeding very slowly,” said Betts. “As a scientist, it’s frustrating to see we’re still at the point when temperatures are going up and emissions are going up. I’ve been in this for 25 years. I hoped we’d be beyond here by now.”

Schellnhuber concurred: “I’ve worked on this for 30 years and I’ve never been as worried as I am today.”

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Global warming should be called global heating, says key scientist

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Lukewarming – Patrick J. Michaels & Paul C. Knappenberger



The New Climate Science that Changes Everything

Patrick J. Michaels & Paul C. Knappenberger

Genre: Earth Sciences

Price: $9.99

Publish Date: September 13, 2016

Publisher: Cato Institute

Seller: Ingram DV LLC

In Lukewarming , two environmental scientists explain the science and spin behind the headlines and come to a provocative conclusion: climate change is real, and partially man-made, but it is becoming obvious that far more warming has been forecast than will occur, with some of the catastrophic impacts implausible or impossible. Global warming is more lukewarm than hot. This fresh analysis is an invaluable source for those looking to be more informed about global warming and the data behind it.

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Lukewarming – Patrick J. Michaels & Paul C. Knappenberger

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China and California want to trump Trump on climate. But can they act fast enough?

A romance between California and China blossomed on stage Wednesday morning at the opening ceremony for a conference in San Francisco. California and China share a common adversary in President Donald Trump, giving them common purpose and strengthening the cross-Pacific bonds of affection. As the proverb says, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

The ceremony kicked off the opening of the “China Pavilion,” the name for the Chinese-organized part of the Global Climate Action Summit initiated by California Governor Jerry Brown.

Chinese government officials in black suits smiled, shook hands with the Californian politicians, and pledged to work together with California to slash greenhouse gas emissions, while Brown exhorted them to treat that climate change as an existential threat. But Brown delivered that message in a jocular way.

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“We are going to hell very quickly, very quickly,” he said. “It isn’t certain we are going to avoid that awful outcome, so don’t feel too comfortable even as you drink your California wine and get a little tipsy, I hope. Never forget, we are on the road to perdition. I don’t know how they say that in Chinese, but it’s not good.”

The fact that the room was packed with Chinese officials “says volumes about the commitment of China to confronting climate change,” Brown said.

Representatives from California and China signed several memoranda of understanding, detailing plans to work together on fuel cells, zero emission vehicles, and such, but if you were hoping for China to announce it’s shutting down all its coal plants next year, well, nothing like that happened.

Instead, Xie Zhenhua, who has served as China’s climate negotiator at the United Nations, gave examples of the ways his country is trying to figure out how to lift people out of poverty without the aid of fossil fuels. It all added up to a banal, if honest, assurance: “We have been exploring our own way of green, low-carbon development,” he said.

The future of the world depends on China being able to pull it off, said Nicholas Stern, an expert on economic development and the economics of climate change. “It couldn’t be simpler. We need to find a new growth story.”

China’s Belt and Road Initiative — a bid to extend its economic aegis across Asia — would encompass roughly half the world’s population, potentially bringing them better lives as well as much bigger carbon footprints. “If that group of people have a growth path in the next 10 to 20 years that looks like China’s, we would be in trouble,” Stern said.

California’s path is easier since the state is already tremendously wealthy compared to much of the world. But its challenge is tougher than China’s in that every Californian is responsible for some 11 tons of emissions every year. The average Chinese citizen emits some 7 tons, Brown noted. “It’s too damn much. But we’re worse! But we’re going to get better together, that’s the key point.”

Brown hopes to change that. On Monday, he signed a eye-popping executive order telling California to squeeze off all emissions by 2045. “We have no chance of getting there unless China invests hundreds of billions of dollars in all the technology that will be needed,” Brown told the audience in the China Pavilion.

The potential for Sino-Californian climate collaboration, trade, research, and investment has grown more interesting as Trump rolls back U.S. commitments and slaps tariffs on Chinese products. There’s a clear connection for Trump between climate action and trade because he believes that, as he tweeted: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

For politicians with a better grasp of reality, Trump’s antagonism toward China, and toward climate-change policy, has created a natural opening. In 2017, Brown began courting China in an attempt to sideline Washington.

You can find plenty of contradictions in China’s attempts to balance its ambitions for growth and environmental sustainability. Its emissions tripled from 2000 to 2012, and the country is still building coal plants. At the same time, large-scale Chinese manufacturing has made renewable energy cheap, and China is building clean mass transit infrastructure on a scale that puts the United States to shame.

A short bus ride away from the meeting on the far northern edge of San Francisco is an exhibit that underscores the tensions inherent in China’s growth. “Coal and Ice” displays large photographs of melting glaciers, floods, and other effects of climate change, paired with photographs of coal miners from around the world, including rare images of Chinese workers looking downtrodden and tired. The exhibit first opened in China, but shortly after government officials caught wind of the content, they shut it down.

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China and California want to trump Trump on climate. But can they act fast enough?

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How the Black Lives Matter Movement Is Mobilizing Against Trump

Mother Jones

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Donald Trump repeatedly expressed hostility towards Black Lives Matter activists during his presidential campaign, particularly for their efforts to confront police brutality. Now, faced with a Trump agenda whose repercussions for African Americans could reach far beyond policing, BLM organizers say they are broadly expanding their mission.

Ever since a police officer killed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the Black Lives Matter movement has grown into a loose-knit web of like-minded groups nationwide that focus primarily on ending police brutality and the disproportionate incarceration of African Americans. Last August, a coalition of nearly 30 BLM groups, known as the United Front, released a policy platform calling for comprehensive police and criminal justice reforms, economic investments in black communities, and the mobilization of black voters. The shock of Trump’s election has turbocharged their sense of urgency.

Trump’s immigration order barring refugees and immigrants in particular “changed the rules of engagement,” says Malkia Cyril, executive director of the Oakland-based Center for Media Justice, part of the United Front. The new president’s agenda, she says, represents “an escalation of the war on black bodies and lives.” Approximately a quarter of Muslims in America are black, she notes; Trump’s order blocked immigrants from the African countries of Sudan, Libya, and Somalia, among others. “The issue is the culture that gets created that is anti-Muslim, anti-black, anti-brown, anti-woman,” she says.

“We have tons of black folks that are going to be affected by the potential cutting of DACA,” says Dante Barry, director of New York City-based Million Hoodies for Justice, referring to Trump’s plan to crack down on undocumented residents. “We’re going to have black folk that are going to be impacted by the cut of the Affordable Care Act.”

Following Trump’s election, I interviewed leaders and local organizers with seven groups participating in the United Front about their plans for confronting the Trump era. I also talked to an organizer with an eighth group, Campaign Zero, whose cofounders include Deray McKesson, perhaps the movement’s most visible organizer. All of these activists reiterated that police and criminal justice reform will remain a priority, but that other issues have become equally urgent.

In the wake of Trump’s immigration order, BLM organizers mobilized their networks to turn out at airports to protest. The groups also fired up their social media networks to amplify calls for the release of detained travelers. BLM leaders say their strategy will evolve as more details become known about what Trump plans to do on matters ranging from policing and reproductive rights to climate change and LGBT issues. They will focus on combating what they see as Trump’s hostile, retrograde agenda—and that of right-wing politicians emboldened by Trump—primarily at the state and local levels.

Immigration concerns are squarely on the radar for Million Hoodies, Barry says. The six current members of the group’s chapter in Greensboro, North Carolina—all college students—are drafting sanctuary campus policies that they plan to pitch to school administrations. The group is also in talks with at least one other local group about how Million Hoodies can bolster their efforts to protect undocumented residents throughout Greensboro. Last fall, Million Hoodies Greensboro also supported a local campaign to repeal North Carolina’s infamous anti-LGBT bathroom bill. “We just show up when folks need support,” member Delaney Vandergrift told me. “Showing up at protests and community meetings. Amplifying on social media. Making signs. Anything that local organizations already doing the work are asking for.”

Patrisse Cullors, cofounder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, said her organization of nearly 40 chapters plans to expand its work on reproductive rights from a handful of southern US cities to other parts of country. The network hopes to replicate work like that of its chapter in Louisville, Kentucky, which is part of a repro-rights coalition that meets monthly and includes Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Kentucky. This week, following the opening of the Kentucky legislature’s next session, members from BLM Louisville and its partners plan to go to the statehouse in Frankfort to lobby against a bill that would require women to get an ultrasound before getting an abortion, according to Chanelle Helm, an organizer with the chapter. In the upcoming legislative session the group also plans to lobby against a Kentucky bill that would make assaulting a police officer a “hate crime.”

Shortly before Trump’s inauguration, Campaign Zero rolled out a Trump Resistance Manual, broadening its focus on data gathering beyond police reform. The site includes descriptions of various Trump policy proposals and assessments of their potential impact; it encourages users to crowd-source information about ways people can get involved in local organizing around more than a dozen issues, including police reform, LGBT rights, education, and climate change.

“The crises are so large that we have to have the capacity to address more than one thing at a time,” said Sam Sinyangwe, a co-founder of the group. “In this moment when they’re trying to take away health care from 30 million people, we simply cannot ignore that in the interest of focusing on one issue.”

Still, police reform remains crucial, and efforts at the state and local levels will be key. The new political reality of a Republican-controlled White House and Congress narrows the prospects for federal criminal justice reform, and leadership from the Department of Justice on police reform, as was the case under President Obama. “We have a federal government—and when I say the federal government I mean prospective Attorney General Jeff Sessions—who doesn’t believe in consent decrees,” said Barry, referring to the DOJ interventions mandating reform for troubled local police departments. “So I think particularly the Trump administration is not going to be useful or helpful for our communities.”

Trump has praised stop-and-frisk and the broken-windows policing strategy, both widely considered racially discriminatory. A budget blueprint for the next fiscal year prepared by the conservative Heritage Foundation—a plan mirrored by budget proposals made by the Trump administration, the Hill reported—would also cut $58 million dollars in funding from the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, which handles police investigations.

Barry said he expects DOJ work on civil rights investigations into police shooting cases that weren’t finished under the Obama administration—such as the Eric Garner and John Crawford investigations—to stall. And worrisome for Campaign Zero’s Sinyangwe is the prospect that, under Trump, the DOJ might be more inclined to intervene in cases of police violence in support of law enforcement. “That’s a different situation that we’re not accustomed to in terms of the Civil Rights division,” he said.

This year, Campaign Zero will begin pushing for laws that empower state attorneys general to open civil rights investigations into local police departments, as is already the case in California, Sinyangwe said. The group will also push for local laws that require a vote by a city council before a police department can accept military equipment from the federal government. Trump has suggested that he will expand the DOJ program that transfers such equipment to local law enforcement.

BLM leaders aim to capitalize on the energy of the nationwide protests that have unfolded since Trump’s election. The local Sacramento chapter of the Black Lives Matter Global Network has canvassed neighborhoods and college campuses five times since the election and has a fast-growing email list, Tanya Faison, the founder of the chapter, told me.

In mid-January, Black Lives Matter groups around the country led multiple protests against pieces of Trump’s agenda that target immigrants, Muslims, and other people of color; the effort began on MLK Day and culminated with the mass anti-Trump protests on inauguration day. April Goggans, who is with the Black Lives Matter Global Network chapter in Washington, D.C., said BLM organizers have been “in awe” of the throng of supporters for their recent events. “It’s really important to us that every time we have a mobilization, that we have an intentional thing to call people into next,” Goggans said. “The days of just rallying and going home are over because there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.”

During the week of the inauguration, BLM groups hosted “Know Your Rights” trainings and “teach-ins” on Trump’s agenda, among other efforts to educate and involve more supporters. In collaboration with the ACLU and the National Lawyers Guild, Goggans’ chapter held trainings that walked attendees through everything from protest permit laws in DC to what a person’s rights are when police give a dispersal order, and how to conduct yourself in jail if you do ultimately get arrested.

Goggans’ chapter plans to rally supporters this month to canvas in neighborhoods in southeast D.C.—an area shaken by increased gun violence in recent years, and where Goggans lives—to encourage people to oppose a push by the city’s mayor to hire more police as a key solution to violent crime. The plan is to talk to residents about initiatives like after school programs and donating books to schools, and “to listen to folks and ask, ‘What is your biggest concern about this? Or what things do you think will be helpful for the issue happening on your block or in your community?’ So that it’s not just giving information, it’s a sharing of information.”

Building that people power will benefit from more collaboration and resource sharing with non-BLM groups. Even before Trump’s election, some BLM groups had begun to build such coalitions. Last fall, some sent members to North Dakota to support Native American activists fighting against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, while others raised money and provided supplies for native activists on the front lines there. The Black Lives Matter Global Network has raised nearly $14,000 in support of the protest efforts at Standing Rock.

The potential for powerful grassroots alliances has only grown since Trump entered the Oval Office, BLM leaders say. “What we saw during the inauguration weekend is going to continue,” said Barry of the historic marches around the country involving myriad activist groups. “We’re all under attack. Each of us might be impacted very differently, but we now share a very similar political fate, and so it’s incumbent on all of us to really be in full coordination and solidarity with other movements.”


How the Black Lives Matter Movement Is Mobilizing Against Trump

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We Just Found the Most Terrifying GIF on the Internet

Mother Jones

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Scientists have long warned us about a climate change tipping point—the moment past which there is no turning back. If you haven’t started panicking yet, now is the time. Last week, Kevin Pluck tweeted an alarming GIF that shows the gradual yet relatively stable decline of global sea ice over the past 40 years before experiencing a sudden drop in 2016.

Visualizing data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), the animation borrowed the design of climate scientist Ed Hawkins’ climate spiral, which went viral last year and inspired a reference at the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

According to scientists at the NSIDC, this drop shows the combined disappearance of sea ice at both poles. In mid-November last year, scientists observed an “almost unprecedented” level of Arctic sea ice decline when an area of ice larger than Denmark melted away during a time of year when sea ice typically increases. The Antarctic experienced parallel conditions, with November air temperatures measuring 3.6-7.2°F (2-4°C) warmer than normal.

Both poles play a critical role in stabilizing global temperatures. If these unexpected developments continue, it wouldn’t just spell faster sea level rise but also an unprecedented acceleration of warming that could lead to climate disaster.

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We Just Found the Most Terrifying GIF on the Internet

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