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RAN FOUNDER AND BOARD MEMBER RANDY HAYES WAS ARRESTED ALONG WITH ACTRESS DARRYL HANNAH, FORMER RAN STAFFER LINDA CAPATO AND MORE THAN 1,252 CONCERNED CITIZENS PROTESTING THE EXPANSION OF THE KEYSTONE XL TAR SANDS PIPELINE BY BLOCKADING THE SIDEWALK OUTSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE: PHOTO: JOSH LOPEZ

THE OUTCRY FOR CLIMATE SOLUTIONS

HAS BECOME AN UPROAR Last fall, Bill McKibben, Phil Radford and I issued a letter calling on people of conscience to take direct action to amplify the demands of the climate movement. And that is exactly what I witnessed last month at the Tar Sands Action in DC. The outcry for a transition away from fossil fuel expansion and toward a clean energy future has become an uproar. When organizing began for the Tar Sands Action at the White House, which called on President Obama to deny the Keystone XL oil pipeline that would run through America’s heartland, I thought

When I was in DC, I spoke to a woman named Julie, a landowner from Nebraska who is the last person in her county to refuse to sign over her land for the pipeline. She had never been to a protest, much less been arrested. But she told me that she had to come to DC because the stakes are so high. Likewise Eleanor, a landowner from Texas, said to me defiantly: “I am much more worried about the Keystone Pipeline and the damage it could do to our climate than I am about my grandchildren being left with a deficit.”

RAN CALLS ON BANK OF AMERICA TO QUIT COAL RAN INVESTIGATES FROM THE FRONTLINES OF INDONESIA’S ENDANGERED RAINFORESTS

it would be an important act of protest. It became something much more. It became the largest act of civil disobedience on the environment this generation has ever seen and a pivotal moment for the U.S. on climate change.

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By some estimates, as many as two-thirds of the folks who were arrested in the White House sit-in had never participated in anything like that before — and yet they showed up, stood up in DC to voice their opposition at a critical time. This is what a movement looks like. Over the course of the two-week sit-in in DC 1,252 people were arrested, including top climate scientists, landowners from Texas and Nebraska, former Obama for America staffers, First Nations leaders from Canada, and environmentalists from across the country. The movement to stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline has become symbolic of our struggle to avert climate catastrophe, and it’s breaking through and gaining momentum. In the coming months, RAN will help support the Tar Sands Action group to ensure that we can get loud enough to stop the Keystone pipeline and build the momentum necessary to make a difference on climate — but we need each and every one of you.

The

By Rebecca Tarbotton, RAN Executive Director For those of you looking for a moment to re-galvanize grassroots momentum on climate, this is it. For those of you looking for a way to concretely demonstrate to Obama that his constituents want him to stand up for ecological sanity, this is it. For the Forests,

Rebecca Tarbotton Executive Director

PANTHER

A PUBLICATION OF RAINFOREST ACTION NETWORK Editor / Designer: Toben Dilworth Contributors: Lindsey Allen, Nell Greenberg, Daniel Kessler, Scott Kocino, Tracy Solum, Laurel Sutherlin, Rebecca Tarbotton For inquiries, comments, suggestions, please email panther@ran.org. ©2011 Rainforest Action Network | 221 Pine Street, #500 San Francisco, CA 94104, USA | 415-398-4404 | RAN.org

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ISSN 1081-5120 >> Summer 2011 #190. The PANTHER is published four times yearly.

Commercial reproduction prohibited. Students, teachers and activists may copy text for limited distribution.

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PHOTO: DOMINIK HOFER

FROM THE CANOPY


Company Commits to Supply RSPO Certified Palm Oil by 2020 On July 12, agribusiness giant Cargill announced new commitments covering palm oil products that it supplies to customers in Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The commitments state a preference for standards certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and/or origination from smallholder growers by 2015. Cargill also stated its intention to cover 100 percent of its palm oil products and all customers worldwide by 2020.

as implement meaningful safeguards in order to prevent these incidents from taking place again. RAN is asking major Cargill customers to demand environmental safeguards, social safeguards, and consistent public transparency and reporting standards.

Cargill’s announcement comes in response to rising demand from its own customers and the public for palm oil that is free from controversy. For years RAN has been pushing Cargill to adopt global safeguards concerning the palm oil it trades, supplies and refines around the world. While it’s significant that Cargill has committed to a global baseline of RSPO certification, the RSPO alone does not guarantee that certified palm oil entering U.S. consumer brands is free of ties to deforestation, climate change, species extinction, human rights violations, or slave labor. Nothing highlights this more than recent cases documented by RAN involving heated social conflict on oil palm plantations in Indonesia tied directly to Cargill supply chains. The latest incident occurred in August in the village of Sungai Beruang on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, where acts of violence, intimidation and home demolition against Indigenous villagers were carried out by security forces of Wilmar, a notorious palm oil trader and supplier to Cargill. The attack was an escalation of a long-simmering tension over land rights between the native community and Wilmar affiliate Asiatic Persada. Another wholly owned Wilmar subsidiary, PGEO Edible Oils, has been a frequent supplier of palm oil to Cargill. Cargill has a responsibility to take immediate action to resolve the situation amicably and address the underlying land dispute as well T H E P A N T H E R S U M M E R 2 0 1 1

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VILLAGE LEADER PAK SUEZ HAS BEEN IMPRISONED FOR TRYING TO STOP THE DESTRUCTION BY THE PALM OIL COMPANY OPERATING ON HIS TRADITIONAL LANDS. PHOTO: HENDRIKUS ADAM / WALHI KALBAR (FRIENDS OF THE EARTH WEST KALIMANTAN). Take Action! Tell Cargill CEO Gregory Page to protect rainforests and human rights! Visit www.RAN.org/Cargill. Or write a letter to: Gregory Page, CEO Cargill Lake Office 15617 McGinty Rd. Wayzata, MN 55391 You can can help support this campaign! Make a donation today at RAN.org/give.

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PHOTO: © DAVID GILBERT

CARGILL SIDESTEPS PALM OIL PROBLEM


THE

MOTORCYCLE DIARIES

RAN INVESTIGATES FROM THE FRONTLINES OF INDONESIA’S ENDANGERED RAINFORESTS

ribly wrong The first sign that something is ter

came before Jakarta 00 feet over the Java Sea between our plane even landed . From 30,0 haze y sickl a of land or ocean below. Just and Sumatra, there was no sign stretching to the horizon. must an abstraction — a concept that Global climate change is usually face, your in it’s , here to understand. But be imagined or made academic third d’s worl the me nesia has beco tangible and acute. Incredibly, Indo 80% nd only the US and China — and behi try, coun ting pollu on largest carb tion. resta of defo of those emissions are the result ess forest for the first time, and to witn Yesterday I was able to visit a peat once was land This and. firsth on the advancing edge of its destructi and red, burned, planted, harvested rainforest, but has now been clea wood pulp and fit for industrial palm oil burned again. To make this land the ing marr ed, be cleared and drain production, however, it must first fires, ng lderi smo and ls massive cana natural landscape with a matrix of air. ical trop the into back of carbon releasing catastrophic quantities . , but not at the expense of the truth I would like to tell a happier story on ructi dest the as re seve as t. But, Indonesia is at a critical tipping poin nesia’s Indo puts ate estim nt rece a le, is, all is not yet lost. Taken as a who py ns still swing freely through the cano forest loss at 49 percent. Oranguta to inue ies of lizards and birds cont of forests in Borneo and new spec e hope for the struggling Sumatran som ins rema be discovered. There populations of pygmy elephants.

nesia are struggling to regain their And, as communities across Indo s of their people from livelihoods and the future livelihood t by companies turning profi k quic being sacrificed for nal commodities, there natio inter into t the rainfores ng around. are signs the government is turni t after our Feeling discouraged and distraugh returned we disheartening trip to the forest, the that s last night to the hopeful new d unce anno has nt Indonesian governme t fores in tion direc new r a potentially majo policy. T H E P A N T H E R S U M M E R 2 0 1 1

WORDS AND PHOTOS BY LAUREL SUTHERLIN, RAN COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER, FOREST PROGRAM

We

had just arrived in the small village of Siabu, in the Kampar region of east central Sumatra . Our plan was to meet up with a group of displaced villagers and participate in a land reclamation and planting party. The villagers are engaged in a land conflict with a subsidiary of pulp and paper giant APP, and their plan was to plant crops on their traditional lands and prevent the company from further establishing a pulpwood plantation in the disputed area. In the tense environment of present day rural Sumatran society, the simple act of gathering together on disputed territory is an act of resistanc e, and the day’s meeting did not go unnoticed. In addition to an underco ver character we had met earlier, a group of armed law enforcement personnel — including private security, police officers, and at least one quasi-m ilitary looking gentleman — had amassed on the outskirts of the villagers ’ assembly. When Pak Datuk, the customary elder of the local village, stood to speak, everyone circled and fell silent. He spoke with the elegance and authority of a strong and self-assured leader. He said the goal of his people is to take action to reclaim their land rights and ancestral territory. He said they are bound to be peaceful, to be safe and not to use violence. He said it is crucial they maintain their unity in the face of those who would divide them. The stories of these people are a microcosm of what’s happening all over Sumatra, Borneo and the rest of Indonesia and Malaysia. People are displaced, forests are cleared, ecosystems are destroyed. Our meeting s this week with allies and community leaders are a piece in the growth of a larger movement that is gaining momentum here and at home in the U.S. Companies like APP can no longer expect to act with impunity. |

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land conflicts While not a perfect system or an ultimate answer to the pervasive that offers hope of ray plaguing Indonesia, the Hutan Desa concept is a welcome ities a commun chised disenfran and a model that can provide many oppressed forest their shielding while ds livelihoo their over tool to regain a degree of control ions. corporat onal internati faceless by ion destruct resources from blanket

After witnessing the devastation across the lowlands

of Sumatra’s Riau and South Sumatra Provinces, we finally got to visit a vibrant version of heaven on earth . Our journey began from the city of Jambi with a harrowing 12-hour drive through treacherously muddy and mangled roads to the remote, highland village of Tanjung Alam (literally, “Corner of Nature”), home to the traditional Malayu Adat community and surrounded by the largest block of primary rainforest remaining in Sumatra. These mystical , cloud-shrouded slopes are home to the largest remaining populati on of Sumatran tigers in the world. Located on the buffer zone of the Kerinci Seblat National Park, they also contain five species of monkey and a bewildering cacophony of birds. Our host, Rudi (from RAN-ally WAHLI/Friends of the Earth Indonesi a), led us to the home of the village leader, which inspired a spontan eous gathering of most of the men in the village. From teens to elders, the house quickly filled to capacity with eager, curious faces. Lafcadio charmed the crowd and explained what RAN is and what our purpose there was.

other two Our experience in Tanjung Alam complimented and contrasted our s of province field visits. The three communities we observed across three es, challeng their ition, Sumatra are very different and distinct in their compos face. they s problem daunting the their needs and their approach to resolving the Indonesian They represent three diverse points along the broad spectrum of nation past the the guiding towards insights own its offers forest crisis and each e. current quagmir red One lesson stands out above all others: The fate of the forests, endange fate of the the with ed intertwin bly inextrica are climate global our and wildlife communities who depend on the forests for their survival. human Any real solutions must simultaneously conserve the forests, protect there. live who rights and provide for the long-term livelihoods of the people who activists young earnest Thankfully, the many allies we met on this trip are stories more needs tely despera a understand and embody this reality. Indonesi nt and with happy endings like this one, and it will be the savvy, compete of grassroots ity commun NGO e extensiv a’s Indonesi within strategic organizers ication commun of channels The . direction that in way the lead will groups that can and coordination are open and I look forward to exploring how RAN crucial groups continue to build our support and working relationships with these into the future. RAN’s blog, This story is an excerpt from the full field report available on The Understory, at www.RAN.org/MotorcycleDiaries.

The village leaders were proud to take us on a tour of their extensiv e gardens, an archetype of deep permaculture principles, designed by a people who have inhabited their landscape for dozens of generati ons. They practice a sophisticated blend of agroforestry that includes hillsides of coffee, elegant groves of cinnamon trees, fields of a leaf called Niman that is processed into an oil, acres of terraced rice paddies, forests of rubber trees and everywhere a mixture of fruit trees, vegetables, tobacco and other useful edible, commercial and medicinal plants.

RIDES ON THE IMAGES (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT): RAN CAMPAIGNER LAFCADIO CORTESI OF ACTIVE BACK OF A MOTORCYCLE TO ACCESS A RECENTLY DEFORESTED AREA ON THE EDGE CLEARED, BEING AFTER S SMOLDER ST RAINFORE FORMER ; CLEARING AND PEATLAND DRAINING DRAINING AND AND BURNED FOR PLANTATION; LAFCADIO EXPLAINS THE CRISIS OF PEATLAND TING DEFORESTATION TO AN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST WITH THE AUSTRALIAN BROADCAS ON FOREST NATURAL A OF EDGE THE AT STAND LAUREL CORPORATION; LAFCADIO AND PEATLANDS AS CHAINSAWS ROAR IN THE DISTANCE.

The community of Tanjung Alam is part of a regional Adat network that consists of 53 villages. Seventeen of these have applied for Hutan Desa status, and 7 have now been approved. Hutan Desa (literally, Village Forest) is a process by which rural forest-based communities can apply to the federal government to reclassify areas of the federal forest estate from “Production Forest” (a designation in perpetual danger of being cleared and converted into pulpwood or palm oil plantations) into a commun itybased management status.

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RAN CALLS ON BANK OF AMERICA TO QUIT COAL »» No financing for companies pursuing new coal fired power plants and life-extending retrofits of existing coal-fired power plants. »» No financing for companies engaged in mountaintop removal coal mining. »» No financing for companies pursuing coal export infrastructure. »» Shift the balance of energy financing to support power generation that is less threatening to our health and environment.

Earlier this year, RAN put the six largest U.S. banks ‘on notice’ demanding a transition in energy financing away from dirty coal and toward clean energy solutions. We followed the money and it turns out that Bank of America, the largest bank in the United States and the sixth largest in the world, stands out as the largest financier of coal in the country. Coal is the single-largest source of greenhouse gas pollution in the United States, and the U.S. is the world’s second-largest coal producer despite its impact on polluting our air, damaging our climate, and threatening our health. Over the past two years, Bank of America has invested $4.3 billion in the coal industry–more than any other bank–including financing for ten of the largest utilities operating coal-fired power plants. It’s long past time for Bank of America to shift its investment dollars away from coal and toward clean, green renewable energy. RAN is demanding that Bank of America spend not one more dollar on coal. Bank of America has an opportunity to lead the banking industry by developing a comprehensive coal policy that commits the company to shifting its financing away from coal and toward investments in renewable energy.

RAN ACTIVISTS POSE AS “BILLIONAIRES FOR COAL” DURING A LUNCHTIME RALLY OUTSIDE A BANK OF AMERICA BRANCH IN SAN FRANCISCO’S FINANCIAL DISTRICT, CELEBRATING BANK OF AMERICA’S STATUS AS THE #1 INVESTOR IN COAL COMPANIES IN THE U.S. PHOTO: KIM WHITE

Take Action! Tell Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan to stop supporting coal! Visit www.RAN.org/BofA, or write a letter to: Brian T Moynihan CEO, Bank ofAmerica Bank of America Corporation Center 100 North Tryon Street Charlotte, NC 28255 You can can help support this campaign! Make a donation today at RAN.org/give.

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TAR SANDS ACTION KICKS OFF IN D.C. A Defining Moment for the Obama Administration on Climate Change

At the end of this year, President Obama will decide whether to approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, a 1,700-mile long pipeline that would transport oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada across the U.S. to refineries along the Gulf Coast. Unlike other important environmental decisions in which he’s been stymied by Congress, President Obama can act alone here and make good on the campaign promises he made about “ending the tyranny of oil.” The Keystone XL would lock America into decades of dirty energy dependency at a time when we need just the opposite. Tar sands oil is the dirtiest type of crude, generating three times the CO2 emissions as conventional oil, and will soon make Canada the largest contributor to global warming. The Keystone XL pipeline, if built, would threaten ecosystems and fresh water supplies, including the Ogallala Aquifer, by carrying up to 900,000 barrels of heavy crude oil per day through the U.S. heartland. Dr. James Hansen, America’s leading climate scientist, has stated that full exploitation of Canada’s tar sands would be “essentially game over” for efforts to solve climate change.

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Controversy over the pipeline has been heating up for the president in the last few months. Between August 20 and September 3, 1,252 people from all 50 U.S. states as well as Canada converged in DC to take part in a two-week sit-in at the White House. It was the largest act of non-violent civil disobedience the environmental movement has seen in more than a generation. The action was spearheaded by environmentalist and author Bill McKibben, and is being supported by RAN. On August 23, leading U.S. environmental organizations released a letter calling on President Obama to block the Keystone XL pipeline. The organizations include Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club, Natural Resources, Greenpeace, National Wildlife Federation, Friends of the Earth, 350. org, League of Conservation Voters, and RAN. For updates on next steps to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, visit wwwTarSandsAction.org. PARTICIPANTS TAKE PART IN CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE AT THE FRONT GATES OF THE WHITE HOUSE TO OPPOSE THE KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE. PHOTOS: JOSH LOPEZ; BOTTOM LEFT: SHADIA FAYNE WOOD

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DON’T MISS IT FOR THE WORLD! Come celebrate your role in supporting an organization that believes meaningful change can only be achieved through savvy, passionate, and effective action. On October 12, RAN supporters will gather for REVEL: The Art of Activism at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. This year’s celebration includes the illustrious World Rainforest Awards, featuring awardwinning journalist and author Naomi Klein and culture-jamming provocateurs The Yes Men—all in the company of RAN’s closest friends and supporters.

California Academy of Sciences

OCTOBER 12 SAN FRANCISCO Get ready to be transported to the rainforest. Dinner guests at REVEL will be treated to a private tour of the California Academy of Science’s living, four-story rainforest, in addition to savoring local, organic cuisine, sipping handcrafted cocktails, and sharing inspiring stories from the frontlines of RAN’s campaigns. TO BECOME A SPONSOR AND FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT RAN.ORG/REVEL, OR CONTACT MEGHAN WEIMER AT MWEIMER@RAN.ORG OR (415) 659-0536.

The Panther: Summer 2011  

The Outcry for Climate Solutions Has Become an Uproar | From the Canopy | Cargill Sidesteps Palm Oil Problem | The Motorcycle Diaries | RAN...

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