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Gasland screenings in Cape Town March 7, 2011

Posted by Andreas in Cape Town, Climate change, Environment, Film screening, Fracking, Global warming, Press Release, South Africa.
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Gasland, the Oscar-nominated documentary about fracking – an environmentally destructive method of natural gas exploitation that may be used in the Karoo soon – will be shown at:

The Labia on Orange cinema in Cape Town on Monday 21 March at 6:15pm, on Tuesday 22 March at 8:30pm and on Wednesday 23 March at 6:15pm

and at:

The Bioscope Independent Cinema in Johannesburg on Monday 4 April at 8.00pm, Tuesday 5 April at 8.00pm and on Friday 8 April at 8.00pm.

Part verite travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, part showdown – Gasland is the must-see documentary of the year!

The largest natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The drilling technology of “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a “Saudi Arabia of natural gas” just beneath the country. But is fracking safe?

When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A recently drilled town in the neighbourhood reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country Fox calls Gasland.

This documentary is particularly relevant to South Africans because Royal Dutch Shell and other local and international oil and gas companies are about to start exploring for natural gas in the Karoo. The fracking technique that will be used for extracting this gas is extremely water-intensive and known to cause devastating groundwater pollution. Watching Gasland is a bit like watching the Karoo of the future – if we allow fracking to happen here!

The screenings will be followed by a facilitated audience discussion.

Tickets for the screenings at the Labia can be reserved by calling 021 424 5927. Tickets for the screenings at The Bioscope can be booked online at www.thebioscope.co.za or by calling 087 830 0445. We strongly recommended that you reserve tickets to avoid disappointment.



This event is presented by the Labia, http://www.fractual.co.za, a South African anti-fracking website, Earthlife Africa Cape Town and While You Were Sleeping, a Cape Town-based non-profit film collective committed to bringing progressive, non-mainstream documentaries with important social, political and environmental messages to South African audiences.

Contacts:

The Labia:
021 424 5927

The Bioscope:
087 830 0445
www.thebioscope.co.za

Official film website:
www.gaslandthemovie.com

Fractual:
info@fractual.co.za
www.fractual.co.za

While You Were Sleeping:
www.whileyouweresleeping.wordpress.com

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14 Members of Earthlife Africa illegaly arrested December 2, 2010

Posted by Andreas in activism, Environment, Nuclear Power, Politics, Press Release, South Africa.
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14 MEMBERS OF EARTHLIFE ILLEGALLY ARRESTED FOR PICKETING AT DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY’S IRP2 PUBLIC HEARINGS IN MIDRAND
(Thursday 2nd December 2010: 12h45)

 

Earlier today, fourteen members of Earthlife Africa ( Johannesburg ) were illegally arrested for participating in a legal picket in front of the Department of Energy’s (DoE) IRP2 Public Hearing in Midrand. The fourteen have been charged with ‘illegal gathering’ and ‘public indecency’ and are presently being held at the Midrand Police Station.

Despite the fact that according to the Gatherings Act of South Africa, any gathering of less than 15 people does not require prior ‘approval’ from police, Earthlife Africa (Johannesburg) had applied for and received, written approval for the picket from the JMPD several days ago.   Nonetheless, when the activists began their picket – to protest against the DoE moving forward with further coal-fired power generation projects and its stated intent to expand South Africa ’s nuclear power generation – they were summarily arrested by Midrand SAPS and forcibly carted off to the police station. Evidently, the charge of ‘public indecency’ was applied because the picketers were wearing bright clothing!

Earthlife Africa (Johannesburg) Director, Tristen Taylor has condemned the arrests as “a shocking example of abuse of police power … We were engaged in a legal protest over crucially important issues of interest to the South African public … this kind of action is totally unacceptable.”

For further information and comment contact:

TRISTEN TAYLOR on 084 250-2434

Anti-Eviction Campaign mass meeting tear-gassed and leaders arrested February 10, 2009

Posted by Andreas in activism, Cape Town, Politics, Press Release, Society, South Africa.
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Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Statement
Sunday 8 February, 2009

Earlier today, Gugulethu SAPS burst into an Anti-Eviction Campaign mass meeting, tear-gassed and beat residents, and then arrested two AEC leaders, Mncedisi Twalo and Mbulelo Zuba.

The background to the incident is that AEC members from Gugulethu, Nyanga, Langa and Mannenberg were holding their weekly meeting at the Gugulethu Sports Complex. The complex is a community centre and is the one place that is always open and accessible to community members. Every single Sunday at 14h00, AEC members hold mass meetings to discuss housing and other social-welfare related issues that are important to township residents.

Today, there were about 1,000 people at the meeting to discuss community issues. This was also the final day of voter registration by the IEC. According to Nomthandazo Nciyabo, a local resident, the AEC held their meeting in one hall while the IEC held their registration drive in the other hall in the complex. However, local ANC councillor Belinda Landingwe, ANC Provincial Chairperson Mcebisi Skwatsha, and about 50 ANC members were present at the Independent Electoral Commission registration. Some residents claim that the reason the ANC bigwigs were present was not only to help register potential ANC supporters, but also to prevent non-ANC voters from registering.  There seems to be teeth to the claim the the IEC is controlled by the ANC.

Still, the AEC went about its mass meeting which had nothing to do with the presence of the IEC. However, at about 16h00, scores of police suddenly arrived and disrupted the AEC meeting. According to Nomthandazo, police attempted to lock residents inside the hall and then proceeded to spray tear gas at the hundreds of men, women and children who were present. Community members ran for their lives leaving behind purses, cell phones and even ID books which are now nowhere to be found. Many residents were beaten with police batons, including Nomthandazo’s 9 year old boy who now has a big lump on his back..

Residents insist that they overheard Landingwe, the ANC councillor, calling the police. This, they explain, is the reason the police came to terrorise residents and immediately arrest AEC leaders Mncedisi Twalo and Mbulelo Zuba. According to Nomthandazo, they had severely beaten Mncedisi before arresting him and Mbulelo. This is not the first time local politicians have used the police to intimidate residents. In fact, it is widely known that Landingwe has a grudge against Mncedisi and other residents for their persistent activism.

The Anti-Eviction Campaign has not heard from Mncedisi since his phone was confiscated at the Gugulethu police station. The families of both activists are extremely worried about their well-being but look forward to their court appearance tomorrow morning in Athlone to set the record straight. Residents will also be there to support their fellow comrades.

For more information about the incident, contact Nomthandazo Nciyabo at 072-3272-813 (isiXhosa only) or contact Thelma Twalo (Mncedisi’s Aunt) at 021-6372-403.

For comment on party politics, police repression and how it effects communities struggling for change, contact Ashraf Cassiem at 076-1861-408

Gugulethu AEC Press Update
Monday 9 February, 2009

Today, Mncedisi Twalo and Mbulelo Zuba appeared in Athlone Magistrate Court on charges relating to obstructing IEC voter registration.  They have now been released on 500 Rand bail and the case has been postponed until the 10th of March.  They have told us that they spent almost 24 hours without food and water – Gugulethu police seemed to be punishing the two leaders.

Unfortunately, we cannot quote the two activists due to the pending trial.  However, as residents, we would like make clear the following facts:

  1. The AEC and the IEC in Gugulethu were and are on amicable terms. We had negotiated with the IEC on the shared use of the Sports Complex and everything was peaceful.  IEC officials present at the complex will agree that residents did not obstruct any registration from taking place.  To confirm this, contact Pule (number below) and he will connect you with an IEC official who was present the entire time.
  2. ANC provincial chairperson Mcebisi Skwatsha and councillor Belinda Landingwe called the police and told them to attack residents during their meetings.  They also told police to arrest Mncedisi and Mbulelo.
  3. Police came and immediately attacked residents without warning. Thousands of residents were present, many were tear gassed, others were beaten (including a 9 year old child).
  4. Residents lost phones, IDs, purses and the AEC committee lost over 2,000 Rand which they had been collecting to buy T-shirts for residents.  We think that the money and items became spoils of war divided among police officers.

Residents are angry and claim that their right to freedom of expression, freedom to meet, and freedom not to vote, have been infringed upon.  They feel intimidated by the ANC and the police and they demand an investigation take place as to the ANC’s illegal actions against non-ANC residents in Gugulethu.

For more information, contact Pule at 073 6448 919 and Lenox at 073 4684 902.

For legal comment, contact Ashraf at 076 1861 408.

Genetically modified crops in your neighbourhood? March 3, 2008

Posted by Andreas in Environment, genetic engineering, Press Release, South Africa, Sustainable Living.
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Do you know if there are any trial fields for genetically modified crops near where you live? According to the African Centre for Biosafety:

Their ability to escape into the environment is well known. Their safety for people with allergies remains in question. Yet we continue to experiment with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and some have even been commercially released. And yes, they may be growing, undetected, unmarked and right out in the open in a field near you.

How would you ever know? If the Department of Agriculture and the biotechnology industry have their way, you should never find out. Unless, of course, you fall ill.

[…]

“Questions around GMO field trials in South Africa continue to be asked – where exactly are they happening, when will there be adequate environmental risk assessment and post–release monitoring, what are the effects on neighbours of GMO field trials and what are the cumulative effects of all the field trials that have happened in South Africa?” says ACB director, Mariam Mayet.

[…]

“The latest report contains both good and bad news,” says Mayet. “The good news is that there were significant refusals as a result of anti-GMO activism. More good news is that there were far fewer field trials during 2007 than 2006.”
The bad news is that there were 21 different field sites in 2007, as well as 11 medical clinical trials including GM HIV vaccine and GM TB vaccine. “The 21 field sites involved GM potatoes, GM cotton, GM maize, GM sugarcane, GM groundnuts and GM maize. Trials were conducted by both the gene giants and also public sector research institutions.”
“One of the biggest problems is that neither biotech companies nor the Department of Agriculture are prepared to reveal exactly which fields have been planted with GMOs,” says Mayet. “This is considered ‘commercially confidential information’.”

Find out if there are any trial plots near you by consulting the ACB’s updated biohazards map:

map

Save the Sea Point Promenade February 28, 2008

Posted by Andreas in activism, Cape Town, Press Release, Society, South Africa.
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Here’s an invitation from Seafront for All to a UCT Centre for African Studies Discussion Forum on proposed developments for the Sea Point Promenade:

“The Cape Town City Council has awarded a tender to a developer to erect a 52-bedroom hotel and a multi-storeyed shopping centre at the Sea Point pavilion. If allowed to go ahead, it will destroy one of the most precious and inclusive public open spaces in Cape Town. The Sea Point open air swimming pools and pavilion are used by thousands of Capetonians – poor and rich, black and white. Now, like many of the best parts of Cape Town, it is being taken from the people of Cape Town and sold off to a rich elite.

The Centre for African Studies is hosting a forum on Wednesday, March 5, from 6pm to 7.30 pm. Anti-development activists, environmentalists; thinkers and journalists will debate how best to fight off this development.

We will also be looking at how important public open spaces are to the emotional and cultural health of a city – and what sort of Cape Town we want. A seaside resort for the global rich? Or a vibrant, diverse African city?

Come and be part of the debate.”

All welcome.
Drinks and snacks will be served.

Venue –
The Gallery
Centre for African Studies
Oppenheimer Institute Building
Engineering Mall
Upper Campus
University of Cape Town

Time 18:00
Date March 5th, 2007

Here’s a map of UCT (the Centre for African Studies is in cell B2).

No aluminium smelter for Coega!? January 18, 2008

Posted by Andreas in "The Economy", activism, Climate change, Coega, Environment, Global warming, Press Release, South Africa.
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Here’s some good news for a change: after sustained protest by local activists, the ludicrous idea of building an energy guzzling aluminium smelter in the Eastern Cape might actually be shelved – hopefully for good!

Press Release: Eskom may Delay Alcan Smelter until 2013
Earthlife Africa Jhb
17th of January 2008

According to an article in today’s [17 Jan 2008] Business Report (“Shelve new projects, Eskom warns”), Eskom financial director is asking the Government to stop marketing South Africa as a low-cost electricity investment centre. This would include delaying, until 2013, the controversial and proposed Alcan aluminium smelter at Coega. The Alcan was the subject of intense civil society, local Port Elizabeth, and international opposition in 2007.

Eskom’s financial director, Mr. Bongani Nqwababa, is reported to have said, in regards to the Alcan smelter, that, “Eskom needs to review supply to Coega”, and that paying penalties for the delaying the project would be cheaper than building a new power station, which is what the proposed smelter would require.

Earthlife Africa Jhb welcomes this reasoned and enlightened viewpoint and hopes that this is the beginning of responsible energy supply planning, especially in the current climate of load shedding. Responsible energy planning requires demand management and industrial energy efficiency.

Next Wednesday, Cabinet meets to discuss energy supply problems. Earthlife Africa Jhb urges Cabinet to reject the tariff policy (the Developmental Electricity Pricing Programme (DEPP)) under which the 25-year contract with Alcan was signed. Abandoning the DEPP would help to ensure security of electricity supply for South Africa’s ordinary citizens.

As explained below, the DEPP ensures that contracts between the State and foreign corporations remain secret and not for public review. This is extremely anti-democratic.

The Energy Policy Officer of Earthlife Africa Jhb, Tristen Taylor, states, “The big question that should be asked when Eskom turns off the lights is; why, if Eskom can’t supply electricity to the citizens of this country, is it offering foreign companies large amounts of power at reduced tariffs? Must individuals and small businesses suffer so that large industries can be assured profit? It seems that Mr. Nqwababa understands these questions and has suggested it would be irresponsible to supply the Canadian multinational corporation Alcan before supplying electricity to the citizens and voters of this country.”

Alcan & Electricity Supply Background

Via the Developmental Electricity Pricing Programme, Eskom and the Government have committed themselves to large-scale supply of electricity to foreign companies at reduced tariffs; this at a time when Eskom struggles to supply citizens with electricity. Thirty percent of all South Africans are still not connected to the electricity grid.

The electricity supply deal to the Canadian aluminium-smelting firm Alcan was the first and to date the only deal to be signed under the DEPP.

For the past two years, Earthlife Africa Jhb has consistently called upon the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of Public Enterprises, Eskom and Alcan to disclose the details of electricity sales to Alcan for its proposed smelter. Both the South African Government and Alcan have hidden behind a profoundly anti-democratic clause in the Developmental Electricity Pricing Programme (DEPP). Alcan is the first foreign company to benefit from the DEPP, and has signed a 25-year deal for 1350MW supply of electricity. This represents about 4% of the entire country’s usage.

What is the DEPP? Essentially, the DEPP provides for uniquely discounted electricity tariffs for foreign industries that are heavy consumers of electricity (over 50MW) in South Africa. In return for investment in South Africa, the DEPP will ensure that electricity tariffs are internationally competitive (our nearest competitor is Australia, which sells electricity at US$0.053 per kWh and is 30% more expensive) and that the industry in question can achieve an profitable internal rate of return; i.e. if electricity is a major overhead (such as in aluminium smelting), it the tariff will be low enough to ensure profit.

This is a significant incentive for heavy industry to invest in South Africa and is supposed to provide significant jobs. However, what it really does is commit Eskom to tariffs for heavy industry at a rate lower (or, at most, on par with the next cheapest supplier of electricity) than anywhere else. It is, in effective, a subsidy for foreign industries, similar to a tax break or import duty waiver.

The most worrying factor about the DEPP is the “built-in” secrecy clause. Eskom is a public enterprise, ultimately owned by the citizenry at large. However, the DEPP guidelines ensure that any contracts signed under the DEPP are to remain secret. This is profoundly anti-democratic. The DEPP states (clause 12.1):

All officials, employees or members of the Department, the adjudication committee, NERSA, Eskom and non Eskom distributors shall regard as confidential all technical information, records, particularly any strategic commercial information and all knowledge that pertains to any project that applied for benefits in terms of DEPP, whether such information is recorded on paper or in an electronic manner.

The very next clause (12.2) in the guidelines bounds individuals with knowledge about the contracts to silence for the rest of their lives.

If the DEPP is a method for promoting growth and development in South Africa, why then the secrecy? Why shouldn’t this be in the public domain? This clause gives foreign corporations like Alcan the right to build electricity-intensive industrial plant in South Africa, get electricity on favourable terms in relation to their expected rate of return, and not to have to tell the country at large what rate they purchased electricity from the South African state. Further, this clause seems at odds with the spirit of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, through a pre-emptive strike against the releasing of information.

The DEPP deal with Alcan means that the citizens of this country won’t know the answers to the following questions:

* What is the price of electricity agreed upon by Alcan and Eskom?
* What are the conditions of supply of electricity?
* Will the price paid to Eskom cover the indirect costs of smelter? For example, the environmental group TWIG has calculated that the indirect costs of harm to the environment based on Eskom CO2 emissions to supply the smelter with electricity would be R6.4 billion.
For more information, please contact:

Tristen Taylor
Energy Policy Officer
Earthlife Africa-Johannesburg Branch
Tel: +27 11 339 3662
Fax: +27 11 339 3270
Cell: +27 84 250 2434
Email: tristen@earthlife.org.za

Uranium Road November 29, 2007

Posted by Andreas in activism, Cape Town, Environment, Film screening, Global warming, Nuclear Power, Politics, Press Release, renewable energy, South Africa, Sustainable Living.
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While You Were Sleeping are organising another documentary screening. This one is SA-made, about nuclear power and should engender some vigorous debate, so why don’t you join us!

Controversial documentary about nuclear power to be screened in Cape Town

You are invited to attend a screening of Uranium Road, a controversial and hard-hitting documentary about South Africa’s nuclear past and future will be shown at the Labia on Orange cinema in Cape Town on Sunday 9 December at 6.15pm, on Monday 10 December at 8:30pm and on Tuesday 11 December at 8:30pm.

Uranium Road explores one of the most important and emotive questions facing South Africa: is nuclear power the answer to our uncertain energy future? When it was shown on MNet’s Carte Blanche recently Uranium Road caused an outcry from supporters of atomic energy and a flurry of letters to newspapers and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission.

Based on the book by Dr David Fig, this brand-new, locally produced documentary looks behind the veil of secrecy surrounding South Africa’s nuclear programme. Strongly opposed to nuclear energy, Uranium Road investigates the country’s billion rand atomic industry, claiming that it relies on technology the safety and economy of which have yet to be proven, is controlled by powerful cliques and fundamentally undermines the principles of our young democracy.

Providing rare insights into the history of the country’s secretive nuclear industry, this documentary chronicles how Apartheid-era South Africa developed a nuclear program and built several atomic weapons. South Africa’s current plans to revitalize its nuclear industry are judged against the background of an international nuclear industry that has not been able to solve basic problems of excessive cost, the threat to human health and safety, and long-term environmental contamination.

Whether you are against nuclear power or believe that atomic energy is the solution to our energy problems, you can’t afford to miss this eye-opening and thought-provoking documentary.

The screenings on December 9, 10 and 11 will be followed by a facilitated audience discussion. Tickets are R20 and can be reserved by calling The Labia at (021) 424 5927. Reserving tickets is strongly recommended to avoid disappointment.

This event is presented by The Labia and While You Were Sleeping, a Cape Town-based non-profit film collective committed to bringing progressive, non-mainstream documentaries with important social and environmental messages to South African audiences.

Contacts:

The Labia:

(021) 424 5927

While You Were Sleeping:

Andreas Späth

084 772 1056

Andreas_Spath@yahoo.com

http://www.whileyouweresleeping.wordpress.com

Global Day of Action Against Alcan September 12, 2007

Posted by Andreas in activism, Coega, Environment, News, Press Release, South Africa.
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Press Release: Global Day of Action Against Alcan
Earthlife Africa Jhb
10th of September 2007

On the 12th of September 2007, Earthlife Africa Jhb and various community orgainsations will be marching on Alcan headquarters to protest Alcan’s preferential tariff rates and to demand increased basic access to electricity. This action is in conjunction with actions against Alcan, Rio Tinto, and Alcoa across the globe.

The march will begin at 10:30am at the corner of West & Rivonia in Sandton, Johannesburg. The march will end at Alcan’s office (Fredman Towers, corner Fredman and Bute, Sandton).

For the past two years, Earthlife Africa Jhb has consistently called upon the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of Public Enterprises, Eskom and Alcan to disclose the details of electricity sales to Alcan for its proposed smelter. Both the South African Government and Alcan have hidden behind a profoundly anti-democratic clause in the Developmental Electricity Pricing Programme (DEPP). Alcan is the first foreign company to benefit from the DEPP, and has signed a 25 year deal for 1350MW supply of electricity.

What is the DEPP? Essentially, the DEPP provides for uniquely discounted electricity tariffs for foreign industries that are heavy consumers of electricity (over 50MW) in South Africa. In return for investment in South Africa, the DEPP will ensure that electricity tariffs are internationally competitive (our nearest competitor is Australia, which sells electricity at US$0.053 per kwh and is 30% more expensive) and that the industry in question can achieve an profitable internal rate of return; i.e. if electricity is a major overhead (such as in aluminum smelting), it the tariff will be low enough to ensure profit.

This is a significant incentive for heavy industry to invest in South Africa and is supposed to provide significant jobs. However, what it really does is commit Eskom to tariffs for heavy industry at a rate lower (or, at most, on par with the next cheapest supplier of electricity) than anywhere else. It is, in effective, a subsidy for foreign industries, similar to a tax break or import duty waiver.

The most worrying factor about the DEPP is the “built-in” secrecy clause. Eskom is a public enterprise, ultimately owned by the citizenry at large. However, the DEPP guidelines ensure that any contracts signed under the DEPP are to remain secret. This is profoundly anti-democratic. The DEPP states (clause 12.1):

All officials, employees or members of the Department, the adjudication committee, NERSA, Eskom and non Eskom distributors shall regard as confidential all technical information, records, particularly any strategic commercial information and all knowledge that pertains to any project that applied for benefits in terms of DEPP, whether such information is recorded on paper or in an electronic manner.

The very next clause (12.2) in the guidelines bounds individuals with knowledge about the contracts to silence for the rest of their lives.

If the DEPP is a method for promoting growth and development in South Africa, why then the secrecy? Why shouldn’t this be in the public domain? This clause gives foreign corporations like Alcan the right to build electricity-intensive industrial plant in South Africa, get electricity on favourable terms in relation to their expected rate of return, and not to have to tell the country at large what rate they purchased electricity from the South African state. Further, this clause seems at odds with the spirit of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, through a pre-emptive strike against the releasing of information.

The DEPP deal with Alcan means that the citizens of this country won’t know the answers to the following questions:

* What is the price of electricity agreed upon by Alcan and Eskom?
* What are the conditions of supply of electricity?
* Will the price paid to Eskom cover the indirect costs of smelter? For example, the environmental group TWIG has calculated that the indirect costs of harm to the environment based on Eskom CO2 emissions to supply the smelter with electricity would be R6.4 billion.
* Why doesn’t Eskom release its forward cost pricing curve, on a regular basis, as the anticipated costs of new plant escalate?
* Are promised future measures to account for externalised costs of electricity generation compromised by the deal or the DEPP?

Earthlife Africa Jhb calls upon Eskom and Alcan to fully disclose all the details of their deal, including the actual price of electricity.

The fact that Alcan and the Government refuse to disclose these details is especially arrogant in light of the fact that 30% of South Africans are without electricity. Furthermore, the basic lifeline of 50kwh per month per household is entirely inadequate and downright miserly. If the South African Government can offer foreign corporations like Alcan electricity tariffs low enough to ensure profit, then surely it can provide the poorest of its citizens a meaningful allocation of electricity?

Therefore, Earthlife Africa Jhb calls upon Eskom and the Government to increase the basic allocation of electricity to 100kWh per person per month with a step-block tariff.

Exxon hacks the Yes Men June 29, 2007

Posted by Andreas in activism, Environment, News, Press Release, renewable energy, Society, Sustainable Living.
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Can anybody out there help the Yes Men? Wouldn’t it be excellent to host them on a South African server – come one you IT-techno-types…

Exxon hacks the Yes Men

Yes Men badly need sysadmin, server co-location

Contact: people@theyesmen.org

One day after the Yes Men made a joke announcement that ExxonMobil plans to turn billions of climate-change victims into a brand-new fuel called Vivoleum, the Yes Men’s upstream internet service provider shut down Vivoleum.com, the Yes Men’s spoof website, and cut
off the Yes Men’s email service, in reaction to a complaint whose source they will not identify. The provider, Broadview Networks, also made the Yes Men remove all mention of Exxon from TheYesMen.org before they’d restore the Yes Men’s email service.

The Yes Men assume the complainant was Exxon. “Since parody is protected under US law, Exxon must think that people seeing the site will think Vivoleum’s a real Exxon product, not just a parody,” said Yes Man Mike Bonanno. “Exxon’s policies do already contribute to 150,000 climate-change related deaths each year,” added Yes Man Andy Bichlbaum. “So maybe it really is credible. What a resource!”

After receiving the complaint June 15, Broadview added a “filter” that disabled the Vivoleum.com IP address (64.115.210.59), and furthermore prevented email from being sent from the Yes Men’s primary IP address (64.115.210.58). Even after all Exxon logos were
removed from both sites and a disclaimer was placed on Vivoleum.com on Tuesday, Broadview would still not remove the filter. (The disclaimer read: “Although Vivoleum is not a real ExxonMobil program, it might as well be.”)

Broadview did restore both IPs on Wednesday, after the Vivoleum.com website was completely disabled and all mention of Exxon was removed from TheYesMen.org.

While this problem is temporarily resolved, the story is far from over. Meanwhile, though, two bigger problems loom, for which we’re asking your help:

1. THE YES MEN’S SERVER NEEDS A NEW HOME.

Broadview Networks provides internet connectivity to New York’s Thing.net and the websites and servers it hosts, including the Yes Men’s server. Thing.net has been a host for many years to numerous activist and artist websites and servers.

At the end of July, Thing.net will terminate its contract with
Broadview and move its operations to Germany, where internet expression currently benefits from a friendlier legal climate than in the US, and where baseless threats by large corporations presumably have less weight with providers. At that time, the Yes Men and two other organizations with servers “co-located” at Thing.net will need a new home for those servers. Please write to us if you can offer such help or know of someone who can.

2. THE YES MEN NEED A SYSADMIN.

The Yes Men are desperately in need of a sysadmin. The position is unpaid at the moment, but it shouldn’t take much time for someone who knows Debian Linux very well. It involves monitoring the server, keeping it up-to-date, making sure email is working correctly, etc. The person could also maintain the Yes Men’s website (which will be
updated next week), if she or he wants.

Thing.net also needs a sysadmin: someone living in New York who knows Linux well. The Thing.net position involves some money and the rewards of working for an organization that has consistently and at great personal risk supported groups like the Yes Men over the years.

THE YES MEN AND THING.NET THANK YOU!

ExxonMobil proposes burning humanity for fuel June 15, 2007

Posted by Andreas in activism, Environment, News, Politics, Press Release, renewable energy, Sustainable Living.
2 comments

They’ve done it again! I looove the Yes Men. Andy and Mike must surely rank among the 20/21st century’s most creative and ballsy activists. Here’s their latest stunt:

EXXON PROPOSES BURNING HUMANITY FOR FUEL IF CLIMATE CALAMITY HITS

Conference organizer fails to have Yes Men arrested

Imposters posing as ExxonMobil and National Petroleum Council (NPC) representatives delivered an outrageous keynote speech to 300 oilmen at GO-EXPO, Canada’s largest oil conference, held at Stampede Park in Calgary, Alberta, today [June 14].

The speech was billed beforehand by the GO-EXPO organizers as the major highlight of this year’s conference, which had 20,000 attendees. In it, the “NPC rep” was expected to deliver the long-awaited onclusions of a study commissioned by US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. The NPC is headed by former ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond, who is also the chair of the study. (See link at end.)

In the actual speech, the “NPC rep” announced that current U.S. and Canadian energy policies (notably the massive, carbon-intensive exploitation of Alberta’s oil sands, and the development of liquid coal) are increasing the chances of huge global calamities. But he reassured the audience that in the worst case scenario, the oil industry could “keep fuel flowing” by transforming the billions of people who die into oil.

“We need something like whales, but infinitely more abundant,” said “NPC rep” “Shepard Wolff” (actually Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men), before describing the technology used to render human flesh into a new Exxon oil product called Vivoleum. 3-D animations of the process brought it to life.

“Vivoleum works in perfect synergy with the continued expansion of fossil fuel production,” noted “Exxon rep” “Florian Osenberg” (Yes Man Mike Bonanno). “With more fossil fuels comes a greater chance of disaster, but that means more feedstock for Vivoleum. Fuel will continue to flow for those of us left.”

The oilmen listened to the lecture with attention, and then lit
“commemorative candles” supposedly made of Vivoleum obtained from the flesh of an “Exxon janitor” who died as a result of cleaning up a toxic spill. The audience only reacted when the janitor, in a video tribute, announced that he wished to be transformed into candles after his death, and all became crystal-clear.

At that point, Simon Mellor, Commercial & Business Development Director for the company putting on the event, strode up and physically forced the Yes Men from the stage. As Mellor escorted Bonanno out the door, a dozen journalists surrounded Bichlbaum, who, still in character as “Shepard Wolff,” explained to them the rationale for Vivoleum.

“We’ve got to get ready. After all, fossil fuel development like that of my company is increasing the chances of catastrophic climate change, which could lead to massive calamities, causing migration and conflicts that would likely disable the pipelines and oil wells. Without oil we could no longer produce or transport food, and most of humanity would starve. That would be a tragedy, but at least all those bodies could be turned into fuel for the rest of us.”

“We’re not talking about killing anyone,” added the “NPC rep.” “We’re talking about using them after nature has done the hard work. After all, 150,000 people already die from climate-change related effects every year. That’s only going to go up – maybe way, way up. Will it all go to waste? That would be cruel.”

Security guards then dragged Bichlbaum away from the reporters, and he and Bonanno were detained until Calgary Police Service officers could arrive. The policemen, determining that no major infractions had been committed, permitted the Yes Men to leave.

Canada‘s oil sands, along with “liquid coal,” are keystones of Bush’s Energy Security plan. Mining the oil sands is one of the dirtiest forms of oil production and has turned Canada into one of the world’s worst carbon emitters. The production of “liquid coal” has twice the carbon footprint as that of ordinary gasoline. Such technologies increase the likelihood of massive climate catastrophes that will condemn to death untold millions of people, mainly poor.

“If our idea of energy security is to increase the chances of climate calamity, we have a very funny sense of what security really is,” Bonanno said. “While ExxonMobil continues to post record profits, they use their money to persuade governments to do nothing about climate change. This is a crime against humanity.”

“Putting the former Exxon CEO in charge of the NPC, and soliciting his advice on our energy future, is like putting the wolf in charge of the flock,” said “Shepard Wolff” (Bichlbaum). “Exxon has done more damage to the environment and to our chances of survival than any other company on earth. Why should we let them determine our future?”

Text of speech, photos, video:http://www.vivoleum.com/event/
GO-EXPO statement: http://newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/June2007/14/c5086.html
Press conference before this event, Friday, Calgary:http://arusha.org/event/7214
Contact: mailto:fuel@theyesmen.org

About the NPC and ExxonMobil: http://ga3.org/campaign/lee_raymond/explanation
About the Alberta oil sands: http://www.sierraclub.ca/prairie/tarnation.htm
About liquid coal:http://www.sierraclub.org/coal/liquidcoal/