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A version of this article appeared in Green Social Thought.
People the world over are opposing fossil fuel extraction in an incalculable number of ways. It is now clear that burning fossil fuels threatens millions of Life forms and could be laying the foundation for the extermination of Humanity. But what about “alternative” energy? As progressives stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those rejecting fossil fuels and nuclear power, should we despise, ignore, or commend those who challenge the menace to their homes and their communities from solar, wind and hydro-power (dams)? The Green Party of St. Louis/Gateway Green Alliance gave its answer with unanimous approval of a version of the statement below in May, 2021.
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Global Conflicts Over Fossil Fuels, Nuclear and Alternative Energy
The monumental increase in the use of energy is provoking conflicts across the Earth. We express our solidarity with those struggling against extraction, including these examples.
Standing Rock, North Dakota. We stand in solidarity with the on-going Native American protests at Standing Rock in North Dakota protesting environmentally irresponsible and culturally damaging pipelines that transport crude oil extracted from tar sand, destroying their ancestral lands. So-called “clean” and “renewable” energies depend on the climate killer oil for their production.
Ogoni People vs. Shell. We stand in solidarity with the Movement for Survival of Ogoni People against Shell. The Niger-Delta was devastated and traditional culture weakened by soil, surface and groundwater contamination that makes farming and fishing impossible. Local communities still seek to receive denied compensation, clean-up, a share of the profits and a say in decision-making.
Coal extraction in India. We stand in solidarity with the Centre for Policy Research in India as it opposes efforts by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to open 41 new coal mines because burning coal is a major factor in climate change, leads to asthma, premature births, and spreads toxins (including mercury) by air, water and land.
Fracking in Pennsylvania. We stand in solidarity with the Green Party of Pennsylvania which has opposed fracking since 2008 when it realized that use of volatile chemicals could harm local communities and waterways and contribute to climate instability. Local residents have become ill and major waterways and delicate ecosystems have been damaged.
Nuclear power and Olympic Games. We stand in solidarity with the No Nukes Action Committee of the Bay Area who are demonstrating against the Olympic Games slated for Tokyo in order to raise awareness of the ongoing disaster of Fukushima nuclear power since nuclear power is deadly and intimately connected with the potential for nuclear war.
Uranium Mining in Africa. We stand in solidarity with “Solidarity Action for the 21 Villages” in Faléa, Mali against the French multinational COGEMA/Orano. After years of struggle, this NGO defeated a uranium mine through community mobilizing. Aware of the detrimental effects on health, environment, agricultural land, water sources and cultural heritage, they are still fighting to undo already done infrastructural damage.
Solar arrays in Washington State. We stand in solidarity with rural Klickitat County, WA residents who are being invaded by industrial solar facilities which would exceed 12,000 acres and undermine wildlife/habitat, ecosystems, ground/water, and food production because solar panels and lithium ion batteries contain carcinogens with no method of disposal or re-cycling and could contribute to wildfires from electrical shortages.
Wind turbines in Broome County NY. We stand in solidarity with the Broome Tioga Green Party’s fight against industrial wind turbine projects that would increase drilling and mining, dynamite 26 pristine mountain tops, and destroy 120,000 trees while requiring precious minerals and lithium for batteries and being dependent on fossil fuels for their manufacture, maintenance and operation.
Hydro-power in Honduras. We stand in solidarity with the indigenous Lenca people opposing the Agua Zarca dam on the Gualcarque River in Honduras whose leader Berta Cáceres was murdered for uniting different movements to expose how dams destroy farmland, leave forests bare, disturb ancestral burial sites, and deprive communities of water for crops and livestock.
Lithium mining in Thacker Pass. We stand in solidarity with activists aiming to stop Lithium Americas’ Thacker Pass open-pit mine (Nevada). Essential for electronic devices including electric cars, the mine would destroy rare old-growth big sagebrush, harm wildlife including many endangered species and lower the water table. Its operation would require massive fossil fuel use and toxic waste ponds.
Cobalt Extraction in DR Congo. We stand in solidarity with the child laborers slaving and dying in Democratic Republic of Congo cobalt mines. Cobalt is an essential ingredient for some of the world’s fastest-growing industries—electric cars and electronic devices. It co-occurs with copper mining, used in construction, machinery, transportation and war technology worldwide.
Most of all, we stand in solidarity with thousands upon thousands of communities across the Earth opposing every form of extraction or transmission for energy which seeks to cover up human health and environmental dangers.
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The version adopted by the Gateway Green Alliance differs only by referring to its organizational name in the text. If you would like to join those spreading the word regarding the need to challenge all forms of energy extraction because we can provide better lives for every society on Earth by reducing the global production of energy, please contact the author at the email below.
Don Fitz (firstname.lastname@example.org) is on the Editorial Board of Green Social Thought where a version of this article was first published. He was the 2016 candidate of the Missouri Green Party for Governor. His book on Cuban Health Care: The Ongoing Revolution has been available since June 2020.