Monday, 30 August 2010

The first ever Green-governed council? It could happen soon

My new piece at - please check it out!

Friday, 27 August 2010

Top 25 Green Blogs

I held my place this year - so still 8th!

Good to see enter the rankings at No. 2...I post articles there fairly often so check it out if you haven't already!

Is there an epochal significance for British politics in the upcoming local elections in Norwich?

Regular readers of my articles will no doubt have noticed that I sometimes use words like ‘epochal’ and ‘history-making’ when describing Green Party achievements. I use these ‘hyperbolic’ phrases to reflect reality. They are a reflection of the massive steps the Green Party has taken in recent years, and in anticipation of future milestones to be passed not too far further down the road.

For example: In the last decade we’ve had our first MEPs elected and re- elected, and our first MSPs. This year we finally returned our first MP to Westminster. Now we stand on the threshold of an occasion every bit as historic as those achievements, if not more so:

In the local elections on Sept 9th (See here for why these elections are happening), the Green Party can capitalise on years of hard work by becoming the largest party on Norwich City Council (we are at present just 2 seats behind Labour) and potentially then forming the first-ever UK Green Principal Authority administration (We may well emerge on Sept. 10th with more seats than anyone else in Norwich and form a minority adminstration. Though in theory the other Parties could still stop us from forming an administration, by coalescing together). This could be therefore a real watershed moment... click here to read the full article at

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The time to organise resistance is now

We reject these cuts as simply malicious ideological vandalism, hitting the most vulnerable the hardest.
Join us in the fight.

It is time to organise a broad movement of active resistance to the Con-Dem government’s budget
intentions. They plan the most savage spending cuts since the 1930s, which will wreck the lives of millions
by devastating our jobs, pay, pensions, NHS, education, transport, postal and other services.

The government claims the cuts are unavoidable because the welfare state has been too generous.
This is nonsense. Ordinary people are being forced to pay for the bankers’ profligacy.

The £11bn welfare cuts, rise in VATto 20%, and 25% reductions across government departments target
the most vulnerable – disabled people, single parents, those on housing benefit, black and other ethnic
minority communities, students, migrant workers, LGBTpeople and pensioners.

Women are expected to bear 75% of the burden. The poorest will be hit six times harder than the richest.
Internal Treasury documents estimate 1.3 million job losses in public and private sectors.

We reject this malicious vandalism and resolve to campaign for a radical alternative, with the level of
determination shown by trade unionists and social movements in Greece and other European countries.

This government of millionaires says “we’re all in it together” and “there is no alternative”.
But, for the wealthy, corporation tax is being cut, the bank levy is a pittance, and top salaries
and bonuses have already been restored to pre-crash levels.

An alternative budget would place the banks under democratic control, and raise revenue by increasing
tax for the rich, plugging tax loopholes, withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, abolishing the nuclear
“deter-rent” by cancelling the Trident replacement.

An alternative strategy could use these resources to: support welfare; develop homes, schools, and
hospitals; and foster a green approach to public spending – investing in renewable energy and public
transport, thereby creating a million jobs.

We commit ourselves to:

> Oppose cuts and privatisation in our workplaces, community and welfare services.
> Fight rising unemployment and support organisations of unemployed people.
> Develop and support an alternative programme for economic and social recovery.
> Oppose all proposals to “solve” the crisis through racism and other forms of scapegoating.
> Work closely with similar opposition movements in other countries.
> Organise information, meetings, conferences, marches and demonstrations.
> Support the development of a national co-ordinating coalition of resistance.

We urge those who support this statement to attend the Organising Conference on
Saturday 27 November 2010 (10am-5pm),
Camden Centre, Town Hall, London, WC1H 9JE.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Green Party Conference approaching...

Friday, 13 August 2010

Greens into government?

My newest on OPEN DEMOCRACY'S 'OUR KINGDOM' project, on the huge and exciting opportunity offered by the Norwich local elections: . [If you're commenting, do comment THERE rather than here!]

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Bank Profits a sign of economic sickness, not health

There is an interesting blog today by Steve Keen, which I think explains
quite a lot about our current predicament. Go to to read it, as well as
to see it reproduced on another very good, and wider, blog.

Keen refers to the situation in Australia, where he says government debt is
5.5% of GDP and private debt is over 150% of GDP. Of course both figures
are very different in the UK and the US, but I think his argument still

[Hat-tip: Tom Lines]

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

My letter in the latest issue of RED PEPPER, on the General Election results of the Greens

To the Editor, RP;
     Steve Platt ('Plattitudes', June/July) is plain wrong on several aspects of the aftermath of the General Election:
1) It isn't true that AV will make it "even harder for minor parties to get elected". Rather, by disposing of the wasted vote argument and of the need for tactical voting, AV gives all smaller parties a foot in the door. AV, if it comes in, will certainly be of great benefit to the Green Party.
2) Platt's attempt to get the Left falling in line behind Labour is, given this, extremely crude. At this election, the Labour Party suffered a massive defeat; while the Green Party got its first MP elected. Platt claims that "when it comes to the next Westminster election, everyone knows it will have to be Labour or bust." No - when it comes to the next Westminster election, especially if we have AV, for the first time in ages socialists won't have to hold their noses and vote for dreadful New Labour clones, but will on the contrary be able in many seats to vote Green (or Independent, or Respect, or SNP/Plaid, etc.) with some chance that their 1st-preference candidate may actually win.
3) Platt calls Caroline Lucas's election in Brighton "exceptional". Well, yes, it was exceptional - as was the election of the first Labour MP(s), a century ago. That doesn't imply that it is "unrepeatable" - on the contrary! The floodgates to electoral success may well now open for the Green Party, now that we have broken down the credibility barrier. For one thing, many many former LibDem voters, for many of whom we were the first preference anyway (and FPTP has hitherto only obscured this) will plump for us. Interesting times!
4) Finally, Platt uses the raw votes figures from the Election to 'prove' that "In electoral terms, at least, there really is no alternative to Labour". What rubbish. Again, this completely fails to take into account the unusual two-Party squeeze at this election (the tightest since '92), the election of the first Green MP (which makes possible the election of innumerable more Green MPs), plus of course the possible coming of AV.
     Less ill-informed pro-Labour propaganda next time please, Steve; more pluralism, and more analysis, instead.
Dr. KaihSu Tai & Councillor Dr. Rupert Read
[Of Oxford and Norwich Green Parties, respectively]

Monday, 9 August 2010

Launching our Manifesto for the local elections!

We are launching our Manifesto in an hour's time for the crucial local elections here in Norwich, now exactly ONE MONTH away.
Come join us at the Forum!
  Here are the top headlines from the Manifesto:


The Green Party in Norwich is ready to form Britain's

first Green council, by taking over from Labour, to

run Norwich City Council in a new way. Our aim will

be to create a fairer and healthier low carbon city

where every voice counts.

Addressing social and environmental injustice lies at

the heart of our agenda and, if residents in Norwich

elect more Green councillors than councillors from

any other political party on 9th September, we can

begin to work towards a more just and secure future

for the city. The changes we want to make will not

happen overnight, and our immediate focus will be

on minimising the impact of the cuts being

demanded by the Conservative / Liberal Democrat

Government. We will prioritise saving services that

will affect residents' everyday lives in Norwich while

creating a more open and efficient council which

enables local residents to enjoy a high quality of life.

1. Open Council

Green councillors will make decisions in public, after

finding out and considering the views of as many

local residents as possible. We will treat members of

other political parties with respect and make councilfunded

partnerships less secretive. We will make as

much information about the council as we can

available to everyone and find ways for some

decisions to be made within neighbourhoods.

2. Renewable Energy

for Local Homes

Green councillors will provide opportunities for

people who live in Norwich to fully insulate their

homes and install photo voltaic solar panels. We will

do this either by investing in partnership with energy

companies, or by setting up a council-run Energy

Services Company. This renewable energy will cut the

carbon emissions produced in Norwich and enable

residents to heat their homes more cheaply. We will

also relax planning guidelines to enable residents of

the city to add renewable energy systems to their

homes more easily.


If you want more, the whole thing will soon be up on the website

Saturday, 7 August 2010

The BBC in denial about our climate

News at One today on BBC R4. The main items:
  • The vast floods in Pakistan (No mention of manmade climate change, which will make such events progressively more common - until the glaciers in the Himalaya have melted away, after which the sub-continent will be in permanent drought).
  • The growing forest fire menace in Russia (No mention of manmade climate change, despite the all-time record temperatures of the first half of this year which will have contributed strongly to these fires. See
  • Humungous iceberg breaking off from Greenland, two thirds the size of the Isle of White. At last, a mention of manmade climate change - the reporter reminds us of the record-breaking temperatures of 2010 - but tells us that a leading oceanographer remarked that "It isn't clear that global warming is to blame" for the iceberg breaking off...
...God save us all. If this is the best we can do, then we are doomed. ...There couldn't be more misleading reporting. It is of course right that, technically, it is never possible to link any one weather-event or other event 100% decisively with manmade climate change. What the latter does is greatly probabilify these events.
If we are not prepared to recognise that, and will not report it, then we are basically in denial. And if the denial persists, it will be too late.
We have 76 of those 100 months left, folks... 76 months left, to turn this supertanker around...

Using the Tea Party to Split the Right?

  The below is instructive. What is totally missing from the analysis are two massive downsides of this strategem:
1) That acting in ways such as this confirms the electorate's perception of the Democrats as unprincipled, as 'politicians not statesmen', etc. - it cancels out any efforts that they might be making (and that Obama did make) to rehabilitate politics itself. This is bad news for politics in general and for the Democrats in particular.
2) That the danger of this strategem is not only that it COULD lead to the far Right (e.g. Palin, following Bush) being elected, but that, whether it does or not, it is LIKELY to lead to the agenda moving Right. If Tea Party people become 'normalised', that is a disaster. "Sure, you might be forced to debate a reactionary nut job. But this only makes you look more reasonable." But, over time, you look less and less reasonable, and what really is reasonable looks more and more 'extreme', as the whole debate shifts rightward.
    ...In other words, this is a typical example of a short-term political tactic that is in fact strategically disastrous. It fails to take into account everything that George Lakoff has been trying to teach us: it ignores questions of deep framing, and focuses only on short-term advantage, without thinking of long-term effects.
Using the Tea Party to Split the Right
Mark Engler - August 6, 2010 9:00 am

Are you a Democratic congressional candidate in a tight electoral contest? Here's an idea: Help to recruit a Tea Party candidate to enter the general election and siphon off voters from your Republican opponent. Sure, you might be forced to debate a reactionary nut job. But this only makes you look more reasonable. More importantly, the new entrant splits the right-wing vote. You waltz to victory.

At least one Democratic candidate—Bryan Lentz, who is running for Congress in Pennsylvania's hotly contested Seventh District—is pursuing this strategy for the fall elections. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Tea-Party-identifying candidate Jim Schneller, a new addition to the race, owes almost half the petition signatures he submitted to get onto the ballot to a drive by Democrats:

"Democratic volunteers, including campaign workers for the Democratic candidate, Bryan Lentz, collected 3,800 signatures for Schneller. The campaign made no attempts to hide its involvement....

"The move is not illegal, although some in political circles view it as hardball (or low-rent) politics....

"While the practice is relatively common at the state level, it is not typically seen in congressional races, said G. Terry Madonna, a political analyst and professor at Franklin and Marshall College. And it's even more rare to clearly see a candidate's fingerprints on the effort, he said.

"'This is one of the top 10 congressional races in the country,' Madonna said. 'It just shows you how rough and tumble this race already is.'"

There's some polling data to support the strategy—and to suggest that the Tea Party is doing the Republicans more harm than good. Back in March, CBS news commented on a Quinnipiac University poll indicating that the Tea Party could foil the Republican Party's hopes of taking Congress:

"Given a choice between a generic Democratic or Republican candidate in November's mid-term elections, voters preferred Republicans by a margin of 44-39 percent. The presence of a Tea Party candidate on the ballot, however, dramatically upsets that balance.

"In a potential race between three candidates, 15 percent of respondents would vote for a Tea Party candidate. Thirty-six percent would vote for a Democrat, while only 25 percent would opt for a Republican, the poll finds.

"An example of that dynamic played out in New York's 23rd district special election last fall. Pressured by conservatives and Tea Partiers, moderate Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava elected to drop out of the race to clear the way for Conservative Doug Hoffman. The result: Democrat Bill Owens won a seat that had been strongly Republican for decades."

Is there a down side to this type of thinking? Only the possibility that Tea Party candidates could actually win, in which case we'd be governed by the far Right.

I've worried about this with regard to Sarah Palin. Some progressives have hoped that, amid a weak field of Republicans, Palin will emerge as the Republican nominee for president in 2012. They have faith that she would be a weak and polarizing candidate in the general election, leading to an easy Democratic win.

I'm inclined to think that this strategy is playing with fire. Sure, Palin makes egregious gaffes on a regular basis. Similarly, John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's Game Change reports in detail how McCain campaign staffers found her to be a liability in the fall of 2008 and often regretted putting her on the ticket. Still, as a friend recently remarked to me, plenty of people thought George W. Bush was a bumbling, unelectable dimwit—and look where that notion got us.

Electoral strategies that must rely on too-clever maneuvering can only conceal a party's more fundamental weakness for so long. At the local level, you can make a case for trying to split the right-wing vote. But, at the risk of being trite, I think there's a better case for progressives learning to defeat conservative ideas on their merits.

-- Mark Engler is a senior analyst with Foreign Policy In Focus and author of How to Rule the World: The Coming Battle Over the Global Economy (Nation Books, 2008). He can be reached via the Web site

Pledge for success - help Norwich Greens make history on Sept. 9!

I will donate £50 to Norwich Green Party but only if 50 other people will do the same.

- Rupert Read, Norwich Green Party Fundraiser.

Deadline to sign up by: 31st August 2010

More details
We want you to help us accomplish something extraordinary...
Norwich Green Party is this week formally launching its campaign to become the largest party on Norwich City Council, having been just two seats behind Labour for the last two years. This would be the first time that the Greens ever became the largest party on a Principal Authority Council!

Please help us attain our target within the next three weeks! Please pledge; if 50 people join me in making this pledge, then that will raise £2500...


These pledges have worked before; they have been critical to our successful fundraising over the last year.

Thank you in anticipation, for helping us make history on 9th September!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

My _Guardian_ letter today: Two words for John Kampfner: Green Party

John Kampfner tells us that "whenever I get the wobbles [about having voted Lib Dem and thus helped put a Con-Dem coalition into power] … I recall two words – Iraq and banks". Would that be the same Iraq almost every Conservative MP voted to go to war against, David Cameron included? And would those be the same banks now profiting hand over fist from George Osborne's slashing of corporation tax? You've come a long way, Johnny, from being a socialist to being a de facto Cameroon. What a shame you lacked the vision to look beyond the soggy centre, to the only party that consistently opposed the war and the only party that has called for the genuine nationalisation or remutualisation of the banks. Two words that John Kampfner should have considered, and should now consider more carefully: Green Party.
C'llr. Rupert Read   Green, Norwich

'The Spirit Level' - My take

Caroline Lucas has been quoting this remarkable book a lot lately. It has also come under attack from various parts of the political spectrum, mostly the Right. Here is my response to the attacks, which may be of interest:

If you want a primer on Wilkinson and Pickett's joint book The Spirit Level, then the pieces here are worth a look (one by me). And for a comprehensive set of responses to their critics, including a pre-emptive strike against Gerry Hassan's recent piece on OK this is all you need. (It is worth noting too that Wilkinson and Pickett's work is peer-reviewed; that of their critics isn't.)

For me as a philosopher, the thing about The Spirit Level that is most exciting is that as a study of the pervasive harms of inequality it strongly suggests that John Rawls's 'difference principle', which says that inequalities are OK provided that they materially benefit the worst off, a principle that has dominated political philosophy for 40 years, is simply wrong. Empirically wrong.

Which means that put into action 'the difference principle' will create a worse society, across a whole index of measures. Perhaps surprisingly, it will make virtually everybody, and certainly the worst off, worse off. (Or at least: worse off than they could be if an alternative way of 'organising inequalities' – a more egalitarian way - were settled upon.)  Even if they have more money or more things (are 'materially better-off'), this will not translate into an improved quality of life: on the contrary.

In sum: it is now possible for the first time to show that the difference principle (and, by extension, liberal political philosophy whether or not of the 'trickle-down' variety) makes the worst-off on balance worse off, and this can I think reasonably be taken to constitute an empirical refutation of the claim that it could possibly be just. (We philosophers don't often get to make empirical refutations of others' claims, so this is quite exciting!) Wilkinson has said to me, by the way, that he agrees with this reading of mine, that his and Pickett's work has a devestating impact  upon the centrepiece of Rawls's liberal political philosophy.

For me as a Green, what is so welcome about this book is that it provides a powerful way (additional to our standard points about sustainability) to argue back against those who claim that the answer to the problem of poverty is always economic growth. For economic growth that grows inequality will only increase relative poverty. And this brings out once more the truth in an old idea that should never have gone away. That the main reason that the poor are poor is nothing to do with their own alleged inadequacies. The main reason that the poor are poor is simply that the rich are rich.

The Spirit Level is reviving egalitarianism powerfully at a time when neoliberalism had had its way for too long. With the vast financial and ecological crises of recent years neoliberalism was almost asking to be replaced. I can't help but see the book in this light, as a hugely valuable contribution to our political culture.

Monday, 2 August 2010

A dream of now

I had a powerful dream last night. In the dream, everyone was glued to screens watching a film about an impending/unfolding disaster. Some viewers dimly realised that the film was true, was, in real-time, and was about their actual lives, their actual world. Some people found themselves dragged away from the screen-addiction when they realised that it was true: the dream was reality, and the calamity was fast coming to engulf them. What the calamity in fact was, as it was starting to be experienced - what made the viewers realise that the viewing had to stop - was lots of people driven to despair by societal breakdown produced by ecological disaster turning on each other and on their richer neighbours. In other words: Our heads were rudely jerked away from the screens we were fixed to, that is, by the hordes of desperate violent people charging our way. We then started peeling away and running away ourselves. In some of our minds, we hunted rapidly for solutions – but it was too late, evidently. The time to have solved the crisis would have been a lot earlier, before it was too big, when we had the resource to do it, when we weren't reduced to a state of preying on others or running away from being preyed upon. But back then, we were caught up simply in watching it, and didn't act…

 This dream strikes me as a nuanced rendition of exactly the situation we find ourselves in. This dream that I had is a warning: we need to stop this from being the story of the rest of our lives. Otherwise, while many of us will not experience climate-disaster as for example the flooding of our own homes (as currently in Pakistan), but we will experience it as a collapse in our society's capacity to help others – and then a collapse in society's capacity even to help ourselves. And then we will all sink together.

 Like in Plato's allegory of the cave: let us not keep watching the shadows on the wall. Let us turn from them to exit the cave, and do what needs to be done. If we don't leave the cave until it is too late, then the Sun will burn us and burn our forests down and burn life up, and fires set by nature and by humans will consume us… We have the enlightenment, we have the capacity to act, before it is too late. That is the wonderful thing about humans…

GREENS AIM AT BECOMING LARGEST PARTY IN NORWICH: Candidates display cross-Party experience.

Norwich Green Party today launched its bid to become the largest party on the City Council by announcing its list of candidates for the local elections to be held across the city on Thursday 9th September. Five of the candidates have previous experience as a City Councillor, one of these with the Labour Party and one with the Liberal Democrats. 

Graeme Gee, a former Labour Councillor [1], will be standing as a Green Party candidate in Mancroft ward. He said: "The Green Party is the party with the ideas and the passion to guide Norwich through these tough economic times. I am pleased to be standing for the council again with a party that will really look out for the interests of Norwich residents. I have already been out talking to people about the issues that matter to them and I'm looking forward to being able to work on their behalf if elected."

Paul McAlenan is a builder and former Liberal Democrat councillor who lives with his family in Norwich [2]. Paul has been a campaigner on key local and environmental issues for over 20 years and is now standing for the Green Party in Crome ward. He said: "I've been impressed by what the Green Party has achieved in Norwich and am pleased to be its candidate in Crome. I look forward to working hard with my Green colleagues to achieve a greener future for Norwich."

Jessica Goldfinch [3], Steven Altman [3] and Claire Stephenson have experience as Green Party councillors. Claire Stephenson, candidate for Nelson ward and the Green Party's main spokesperson for the election [4], said: "It is fantastic that our list of candidates contains so much talent and experience. Across the city people from all walks of life are coming over to the Green Party because they realise that what we offer is a real alternative that has fairness to all people at its heart."

The Green Party is going into this election buoyed by its success in doubling its share of the vote in Norwich South and achieving the second highest Green vote in the country at the General Election earlier this year [5]. For the last two years the Green Party has been the second largest party on the City Council with 13 councillors, just two behind Labour's 15. This election will be a contest between Labour and the Greens to become the largest party [6]. If the party succeeds, this will be the first time anywhere in the country that the Green Party has become the largest party on a council.

Amongst the other Green Party candidates are Jo Henderson, a successful local businesswoman; Lesley Grahame, who works as a nurse; and Jean Bishop, a horticulturalist who runs her own business [7].


[1] Graeme was a Labour councillor on Norwich City Council for eight years ending in 1996. During that time he served on planning, leisure and community services, finance, personnel, and economic development committees. In this time he also chaired planning outer area development and control committee, Bowthorpe Development Group, and was Vice Chair of leisure and community services. He was also involved in licensing sub committee, joint museums committee, and markets, as well as representation for the Council on a number of outside bodies, including East Anglia Tourist Board, Cinema City, Norwich and Norfolk Dance, and a number of community centre committees.

[2] Paul was a Lib Dem councillor on Norwich City Council between 1999 and 2004. During that time Paul was particularly involved with the Planning Committee and worked to promote sustainable building and modern architecture.

[3] Jessica was a Green Party Councillor in Nelson ward between 2003 and 2006. During that time she was the party's housing spokesperson and a chair of the Licensing Committee. Steven Altman was a Green Party Councillor in Mancroft ward between 2006 and 2007.

[4] Claire Stephenson was until recently the Leader of the Opposition on the City Council. She also chaired the Scrutiny Committee. If re-elected she is expected to become the Leader of the Green Party Councillors on the City Council again and is therefore the Green Party's main spokesperson for the election campaign.

[5] Norwich South produced the second highest Green Party vote anywhere in the country. Party Leader Caroline Lucas had the best result, winning Brighton Pavilion to become the first Green MP at Westminster.

[6] Both parties start the election campaign with 9 councillors, while the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives have only 4 each.

[7] The full list of Green Party candidates is:

Jean Bishop (Bowthorpe)

Rebecca Lewis-Smith (Catton Grove)

Paul McAlenan (Crome)

Nick Clinch (Eaton)

Kit Jones (Lakenham)

Graeme Gee (Mancroft)

Jo Henderson (Mile Cross)

Claire Stephenson (Nelson)

Jessica Goldfinch (Sewell)

Lesley Grahame (Thorpe Hamlet)

Ash Haynes (Town Close)

Sue Carpenter (University)

Steven Altman (Wensum)

Short profiles of each candidate will soon be available on the Norwich Green Party website

More Green Councillors!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

VICTORY: Ecuador Saves Major Rainforest and Sets Climate Protection Precedent

This _good_ news, from the excellent people over at Ecological Internet:

- It is reported Ecuador will be compensated for leaving oil reserves in
Yasuni National Park untouched. This is a major victory for Ecuador, the
rainforest movement, and Ecological Internet - who was the first to campaign
internationally on the issue.

From Earth's Newsdesk and the Rainforest Portal, projects of Ecological
Internet (EI) |

Ecuador's government announced today it has reached a deal with the United
Nations Development Program under which donor countries will compensate
Quito for leaving oil reserves untouched in a large primary rainforest
filled national park. Yasuni National Park - covering some 9,820 km2, or
about the size of Massachusetts - is thought to be one of Earth's most
biodiversity rich sites and is also home to several nomadic Indian tribes.
Yasuni's preservation (total protection, not "sustainable management" or
"conservation") would spare Earth some 410 million metric tons of carbon
dioxide (CO2) emissions that contribute to global warming; while keeping
biodiversity, ecosystems and cultures fully intact. The official signing is
reported to be held on Tuesday.

Ecological Internet's Earth Action Network [1] was the first to campaign
internationally on threats to Yasuni from oil exploration, successfully
internationalizing the issue. "This marvelous rainforest and climate victory
is very gratifying and exciting," states Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet
President. "Ecological Internet began to campaign in the early 2000s to
protect Yasuni National Park from oil development, and continuously since.
Like so many of our campaigns, it has just taken off. Our efforts were
picked up by 'The Ecologist' Magazine, and since then a large local and
global movement has been built - including the Yasuni-ITT Initiative,
Scientists Concerned for Yasuni, Save America's Forest and many other
participants - who share in this victory."

In 2007, Ecuador's then President Rafael Correa launched the Yasuni-ITT
Initiative, which sought compensation for agreeing to forgo exploiting the
estimated 846 million barrels of crude in the Yasuni National Park.
Negotiations had centered on the amount of compensation Ecuador would
receive, with Correa insisting his nation get at least 3.5 billion dollars
over ten years -- about half the value of the estimated reserves in the
protected area. When international donors were slow to respond, Ecological
Internet launched another campaign which successfully "nudged" donor nations
to fund this Yasuni-ITT proposal[2]. As of early this year, about half had
been pledged, with Germany (910 million) and Spain (241.8 million) leading
the group of donors that included France, Sweden and Switzerland.

### MORE ###

Much of the remainder of the Western Amazon -- home to some of the most
biodiverse and intact primary rainforest ecosystems left on Earth, which are
critical for driving regional and global ecosystems and climatic patterns
necessary for life - are threatened with decimation by oil rigs and
pipelines. Over 180 oil and gas "blocks" - covering some 688,000 km2 (170
million acres) of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and western Brazil
(nearly the size of Texas) - areas zoned for exploration and development.
This energy production is concentrated in the Amazon's largest remaining
un-fragmented primary rainforest wildernesses, containing the most species
of birds, mammals, and amphibians.

"Destruction of primary rainforests for oil production and other industrial
developments is a global ecological emergency. Regional governments,
international donors and global citizens must decide whether every last bit
of the Earth's old forest wildernesses; and intact, large ecosystems which
make Earth habitable, will be sacrificed to delay having to transition now
to renewable energy sources. In the process, abrupt run-away climate change,
mass extinction and social disintegration will be ensured. This deal, if
indeed signed as reported on Tuesday, represents a major new model for
achieving global ecological sustainability, which must be replicated
wherever primary rainforests shroud oil reserves. Further, it sets the
precedent that to truly be protected, primary rainforests must be fully
preserved in an intact condition, and not 'sustainably managed', which is a
myth," explains Dr. Barry.

1. 2. 3. Rupert's Read: August 2010 4. 12. 15. 18. 19. 20. 21.

Rupert's Read

22. 23. 31. 32.