Standing Rock protesters evicted by police at gunpoint

February 24, 2017 by  
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Yesterday police in riot gear evicted Standing Rock protesters after an evacuation deadline passed. Though the majority of demonstrators left the Oceti Sakowin camp before the February 22nd deadline, about 50 Dakota Access Pipeline protesters remained. Most of these passive resistors – including veterans and tribal elders – were arrested at gunpoint by officers clad in full riot gear. The raid was livestreamed on Facebook over the course of 4 hours throughout the day. The initial evacuation was ordered on the pretext of protecting demonstrators from seasonal floods, which could potentially affect the area. While this is certainly a legitimate concern, the fact that over 200 police officers were sent to clear the area, armed with rifles and military-style equipment, makes it clear that the protesters’ safety isn’t Governor Doug Burgam’s main priority. Related: Judge throws out request to halt Dakota Access Pipeline construction Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier told ABC News in a statement, “I am very happy to say that we finally introduced rule of law in the Oceti camp. I am hopeful that this announcement brings us closer to finality in what has been an incredibly challenging time for our citizens and law enforcement professionals. Having dealt with riots, violence, trespassing and property crimes, the people of Morton County are looking forward to getting back to their normal lives.” For many of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe members, there is no “normal life” to get back to. Now that the pipeline construction is slated to go forward , they live in fear that a catastrophic oil spill could put their community’s access to clean water at peril. The “violence, trespassing, and property crimes” they’ve been subject to at the hands of police in the past year include being attacked by security dogs , blasted with water cannons at hypothermia-inducing temperatures, and having land they claim was granted to them as part of a 1851 treaty given away to oil companies by the federal government. Related: Trump claims he received no calls about the Keystone and Dakota pipelines Though the protests are Standing Rock have been ended by force, the movement to force banks to stop supporting the Dakota Access Pipeline continues. Oakland , Los Angeles , and New York City are just a few of the local governments urged to divest from the pipeline. Seattle has already voted to end all financial support of the project by moving $3 billion of the city’s funds from Wells Fargo. Via ABC News Images via Kelly Hayes , Unicorn Riot , Jamil Dakwar , Standing Rock Rising

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Standing Rock protesters evicted by police at gunpoint

See how banana trees are recycled into vegan leather wallets in Micronesia

February 24, 2017 by  
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Forget plastic and leather, your next wallet could be made from a more ethical and eco-friendly alternative—banana fiber. Kosrae, Micronesia-based startup Green Banana Paper tapped into banana tree waste, upcycling the unlikely material into stylish and sturdy vegan leather wallets. Green Banana Paper launched a Kickstarter to bring these eco friendly wallets to the global market and help improve the lives of local farmers. Bananas may be easy to eat, but the trees they grow on need a surprising amount of work. There are approximately 200,000 banana trees spread across the island and after harvesting, local farmers must cut down the plant every year to promote fruit production. The mass amounts of banana fiber waste are typically left on the ground to biodegrade, but Green Banana Paper saw an entrepreneurial opportunity with environmental and social benefits. Founded by New England native Matt Simpson, the social enterprise produces strong and water-resistant wallets with designs inspired by the coconut palms, ocean life, and people of Micronesia. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSM_TYaT5Kg Related: Thai Building Facade Handmade From Natural Banana Fiber “Green Banana Paper wallets are not only ecofriendly; they are helping to provide a living wage to Kosraean families,” says the company. “Matt hopes to continue to scale up production, and get even more people on the island involved in this truly community-oriented business.” Green Banana Paper has launched a Kickstarter to raise funds for hiring more people and improving the quality of their products. Supporters of the project can also receive their own banana fiber wallet, which can be shipped around the world. + Green Banana Paper Kickstarter

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See how banana trees are recycled into vegan leather wallets in Micronesia

Army approves Dakota Access Pipeline route – and construction could begin immediately

February 8, 2017 by  
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In a surprise move, the US Army Corps of Engineers just approved construction on the final 1.5 miles of the Dakota Access Pipeline . The move cut short a public comment period and environmental impact assessment that was supposed to last two weeks – the Army was originally supposed to accept comments through February 20th, but it expedited the process under the direction of Donald Trump . The accelerated timeline makes legal challenges to the pipeline extremely difficult. The agency has also announced it’s planning to waive its usual policy of waiting 14 days after notifying Congress of the decision to grant an easement. Instead, the easement could be granted within 24 hours, allowing Energy Transfer Partners to begin construction immediately. Due to the nature of the project, it’s not necessary for the company to apply for a separate construction license. Related: 76 water protectors arrested at Standing Rock The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reports that it plans to file a lawsuit and ask for a temporary restraining order to halt construction while the decision’s legal standing undergoes a review. The protestors are also coordinating an international day of action to stand against the decision. In the past, police have soaked Standing Rock protectors with water cannons in freezing conditions, attacked them with dogs , and early in February 76 protestors were arrested during a raid on a new camp at Standing Rock. Via NPR Images via Standing Rock Uprising Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )  

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Army approves Dakota Access Pipeline route – and construction could begin immediately

Congressman makes statement with ‘Keep the EPA Great’ hat

February 8, 2017 by  
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Democratic Congressman Don Beyer’s Northern Virginia district is home to thousands of federal workers who make the daily commute across the Potomac River to their jobs in Washington — and many of them are EPA employees working to ensure clean air, clean water and a livable climate for their fellow Americans. On Tuesday, Beyer stood up for the agency, which is under attack from President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress who want to abolish it . During a hearing, Beyer used his speaking time to run down the agency’s accomplishments in protecting the environment and human health, before donning a red cap similar to the Trump campaign’s “Make America Great Again” hats — except Beyer’s said “Keep the EPA Great.” https://www.facebook.com/RepDonBeyer/videos/1870037156576073/ The House Science Committee is chaired by climate change denier Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who used the first hearing after Trump’s inauguration to bash the EPA with baseless accusations of politicization and questionable science. Beyer refuted Smith’s assertions, reminding the committee that the EPA was responsible for banning the pesticide DDT, reducing acid rain, mandating lead-free gasoline, regulating toxic chemicals and establishing a national commitment to protect the nation’s air and water. Related: Florida Republican introduces bill that would abolish the EPA Many EPA employees are on edge after Trump nominated anti-EPA crusader Scott Pruitt to head the agency and chose professional climate science denier Myron Ebell to lead the EPA transition team. In a recent interview, Ebell said that Trump would seek significant reductions to the EPA’s 15,000 staff and $8 billion annual budget. Ebell explained that the aim was to cut the agency down to a Nixon-era level of 5,000 employees. “This Committee should be leading the charge to protect the planet and our environment for future generations,” said Beyer. “Instead it attacks the credibility of scientists, casts doubt on accepted science, and makes life difficult for the people trying to solve urgent crises. The Science Committee’s contribution now is like that of the Emperor Nero, fiddling while Rome burned down around him. This is irresponsible and dangerous. It is not leadership and it will not make the EPA, or America, great.” Via Gizmodo Image via Twitter

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Congressman makes statement with ‘Keep the EPA Great’ hat

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