Fighting for the Future.

First, this month – in USA the fight against Formosa Plastics.

News from the Center for Biological Diversity – Meet Sharon Lavigne of Louisiana.

For Immediate Release, June 15, 2021

Contact:Anne Rolfes, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, (504) 452-4909, anne@labucketbrigade.org
Julie Teel Simmonds, Center for Biological Diversity, (619) 990-2999, jteelsimmonds@biologicaldiversity.org
Sharon Lavigne, RISE St. James, (225) 206-0900, sharonclavigne@gmail.com

Leader of Campaign to Stop Formosa Plastics Wins Top Environmental Award

Goldman Prize Honours Louisiana’s Sharon Lavigne of RISE St. James

(Photo by L. Kasimu Harris/Louisiana Bucket Brigade)

SAN FRANCISCO — Louisiana’s Sharon Lavigne, who has led an international environmental campaign to stop Formosa Plastics from building one of the world’s biggest petrochemical complexes in her predominantly Black community, will be honored with a Goldman Environmental Prize today. She was recognized for stopping the Wanhua plastics plant, proposed for St. James Parish, Louisiana, in 2019 and her ongoing work against other polluting projects proposed for the region.

‘Her allies say they hope the honor — the environmental movement’s biggest annual award — will help Lavigne build on her past success to realize her current goal of preventing the Formosa Plastics project from ever being built.

Lavigne has helped attract national media attention and support from thousands of individuals around the country, as well as faith groups, national and international organizations, members of Congress and the Biden administration, attorneys general from other states, and United Nations human rights experts, who have called on officials to reject the Formosa Plastics project.’

Links:

Goldman Environmental Prize video of Sharon Lavigne.
Goldman Environmental Prize winner page for Sharon Lavigne.

The Center for Biological Diversity is an American national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Read the whole article to see how vital her fight is – if people say nothing!

“When the governor of Louisiana came to St. James Parish and announced Formosa Plastics was coming to town, Sharon Lavigne was brave enough to stand up and say no. Sharon said she had a different vision for her historic Black community,” said Anne Rolfes, director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “When parish officials told her that Formosa was a done deal, she insisted that it was not. Her leadership, courage and vision are rewarded today by the Goldman Prize. And she would be the first to say that this is just the beginning. The fight has just begun.

Lavigne started RISE St. James with her neighbors in the already-polluted corridor along the Mississippi River in Louisiana known as Cancer Alley or Death Alley to fight new industrial projects from being built in her community. Last year Lavigne’s group, Louisiana Bucket Brigade and Healthy Gulf challenged the project by filing a federal lawsuit, represented by the Center for Biological Diversity. That suit resulted in a construction delay and the permit being suspended pending further review.

“Sharon is in an intense, ongoing fight for the life of her community and our planet. We hope this richly deserved honor and recognition helps Sharon reach her goal of stopping Formosa Plastics,” said Julie Teel Simmonds, a senior attorney at the Center. “Sharon has battled through pollution-related illness and the loss of loved ones, and she keeps faithfully fighting environmental racism. Under the leadership of this amazing woman, we’re going to stop Formosa Plastics and advance environmental justice in this country.”

Lavigne has helped attract national media attention and support from thousands of individuals around the country, as well as faith groups, national and international organizations, members of Congress and the Biden administration, attorneys general from other states, and United Nations human rights experts, who have called on officials to reject the Formosa Plastics project.

Formosa Plastics is proposing to build a 14-plant complex to turn the U.S. oversupply of fracked gas into mountains of new plastic, much of it destined for throwaway packaging. The complex would emit 800 tons of toxic air pollution each year, doubling toxic air emissions in St. James Parish. It would also generate more than 13 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suspended its permit for the project in November 2020. More than 20 groups and 40,000 individuals have demanded that the Army Corps and Biden administration more thoroughly review the project and its environmental justice issues and ultimately reject it.

“Americans have been shouting ‘Black lives matter,’ and we need Formosa, the Army Corps and local officials to listen,” Lavigne said last July when the Center filed an injunction to force Formosa to delay work on the project. “They should listen to the people of St. James. Why should we sacrifice our homes, our land and our lives so this huge company can make money? They just aren’t concerned about people, and it angers me.” They are not concerned about what plastics do, or about the impact of fracking.

 The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

And in the southern hemisphere

in Australia, ‘Down Under’ Our not-for-profit organizations have to fight so hard.

Their volunteers give all they can. And how we need it. In Cornwall, while the G7 were talking real move for positive climate change action – despite these plastics and petrochemical factories – Australia’s Prime Minister was bent on his commitment to the very expensive carbon capture and storage in the mines of mining companies, like Glencore, for example,with questions about its commitment to effective rehabilitation.

And just as I write now, one part of the Coalition, the supposedly ‘National’ Party, wants to trash our major public eastern waterway. The Murray-Darling-Baaka system is just as important to Australia as the Mississippi river system is to USA. They want to support big business, so much of it at its headwaters. And we are just recovering from years of drought! And we are the driest habitable continent on our planet. And our Government is trying to pass legislation to use our revenue, set aside for renewable energy, for coal in Queensland and a valley in NSW and for gas and gas pipe lines across the fertile agricultural land in the NSW Liverpool Plains and ‘fracking’ on First Nations land.

In Queensland, the Lock the Gate Alliance has a fight on its hands.

It is Queensland and New South Wales where the worst fossil fuels – coal and gas – corporations have the greatest political support.

Notice their commitment to the land and the water!

Many issues affect the water resources and ecosystems of the Murray-Darling-Baaka System including salinity, erosion, blue-green algal blooms, water quality, and invasive species. Climate change and resultant possible increases in drought pose a significant risk to the availability of surface water in the Murray-Darling-Baaka. All made worse by politics! We have to thank all the fighters for the future with their various methods.

Thank you Tuesday and Carol.

These two fine women have got together a flotilla to go down the river to show what is being done to it by turning our main publicly-owned eastern public waterway into the market. Protecting its vital role for the environment and the bio–diversity it makes possible gets harder and harder every day as politicians don’t care about its future.

Part of our great public waterway has its headwaters in Queensland.  The Murray-Darling system has been turned into a market with licences selling its public water to businesses. The fact that a river must flow to its mouth is of no concern to corporations whose profits are made up stream. One politician made clear he couldn’t careless!

Two women, officially ‘retired’ but not retired from the need to care about our major public waterway.
Watch the beautiful short film about their journey >> 
I hope visitors will be able to see it and tell me they have!

I’m afraid you might not be able to see the film of their beautiful journey along the river and their call out of May Day, May Daythe universal call – for help and rescue. They had a little flotilla of friends on their sometimes home-made boats showing us just the dangers this lifeline faces. [I am not yet good enough with this machine.] The problem is that the politicians, and the people who elect them, care too little for our public waterways and our environment. Why do 51% of us elect them when we know what drought and extreme weather events do? How are the public waterways surviving around the world? Do they face these problems? In democracies we should be able to do something about it. When we choose or have thrust on us demagogues? What then?

We provide the revenue! But we vote in this or that party without thought. Now we have a new Deputy Prime Minister whose job, for his political party, is to make everything worse for our environment. When this Member for New England was Minister for Water, he paid a private company $80 million of our revenue to buy back a flood plain that should never have been sold to it, with its tax haven, in the first place.

However, there is good news from Adelaide –

‘Green plastics – Blue Ocean’ –Is it possible?  This is the combination of the work of

a scientist and an artist at Flinders University.

The meeting is over but contact the Centre for Marine Bioproducts Development at Flinders University.
So different from the attitude of Formosa Plastics, isn’t it! Not just money-making in the present. The sciences and humanities are working for the future of humanity and the planet we must rely on.

Then there are these three remarkable women fighting for decades for their land.

The Australian Conservation Foundation provides as annual award in the name of Peter Rawlinson. Here are the 2019 award winners

Here is what the Australian Conservation Foundation stands for

‘We are dismantling the old story that people and nature must be in conflict. We are creating a new story – a story of connection. In this story, we value the whole web of life and the incredible diversity of life on Earth.’

Shirley Wonyabong, Elizabeth Wonyabong and Vicki Abdullah.

Three Tjiwarl women, Shirley, Elizabeth and Vicki, were awarded in recognition of their decades-long campaign to protect their country and culture from a proposed uranium mine at Yeelirrie in outback Western Australia.

‘The Australian Conservation Foundation acknowledges their tireless work speaking up for country and culture around campfires, in politician’s offices, on the streets of Perth and in Western Australia’s highest court. Over the decades they have seen off at least three mining companies, including BHP, and have given strength and courage to their own community and many others.’

Read their story

Elizabeth, Vicki and Shirley at WA Supreme Court. Photo: Conservation Council of Western Australia.

And our Australian Conservation Foundation – the ACF – tells all Australians why the Australian Prime Minister’s obstinate insistence on Carbon Capture and Storage [CCS] is not good for us. It is a delaying tactic, in fact, to allow fossil fuel magnates to keep going and it costs six times more than wind plus battery storage.

Back to the Northern Hemisphere for a moment, then back ‘Down Under’

The G 7 now says we need to protect 30% of our oceans. So far only 2% is protected. News from the ABC’s Science Show on Radio National with Robyn Williams as the presenter.

Go to ‘Australian Odyssey’. See what warming is doing to our east coast current. See my blog focusing on the work of another remarkable woman, Dr Sylvia Earle, pushing for Maritime Protected Areas to save the oceans from over fishing and deep-sea drilling.

Race to map Ashmore Reef as aquatic worlds change fast with warming waters

Scientists are mapping the diversity of Ashmore Reef. The area is changing fast with warming seas.

8mins 39secs

Sat 12 Jun 2021, 12:04pm

The fight for our future in the face of still too much corporate indifference goes on.

One thought on “Fighting for the Future.

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