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Monthly blog archive December, 2009

Breaking: Shell to stand trial in the Hague for Nigeria oil spills

Positive news this morning as a Dutch court ruling announced that four Nigerian farmers and Friends of the Earth Netherlands can hold Royal Dutch Shell and Shell Nigeria accountable, a short distance from Shell’s global headquarters in The Hague. For more details please see the press release from Friends of the Earth Netherlands. If found...

Tar Sands & corruption in Colorado

As the California Zephyr climbs slowly into the Rockies, my fellow train passengers in the observation carriage stare in silence through the enormous windows, as we pass hundreds of miles of narrow gorges, red rock cliffs and frozen waterfalls. Coyotes run through the snow as the train approaches, while studious bald eagles perched above streams ignore us,...

Tar Sands in Chicago!

Waking up in Indiana on Monday morning as my train trundles along the flat shores of Lake Michigan, BP’s mega-refinery at Whiting welcomes me to the outskirts of Chicago. Belching out pollutants over the local communities and into the lake since 1889, the refinery turns 410,000 barrels of crude into petrol, jet fuel and petroleum coke every...

Sailing the Hudson by train

I wake up from a light doze and search out the window for a mighty 19th century sloop looming out of the dark. But the wide Hudson River appears empty of sailing craft, with the wooded hills on the far banks disappearing into mist on this winter afternoon. Days of rain have welled the river’s...

Social change not climate change bloc attacked by police- total arrests 968

Today’s climate protests in Copenhagen saw 100,000 take to the streets – the largest protests at a climate summit yet. The System Change not Climate Change Bloc was primarily driven by the Climate Justice Now and Climate Justice Action coalitions of activists and campaigners from the Global South and North. Aerial view of 300-400 climate change protesters arrested, handcuffed,...

A Sense of Denial – C Words commisioned poem by Dorothea Smartt

Dorothea Smartt (African Writers Abroad) joined the C Words closing Party and Benefit for the Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaigners live via Skype. She performed her specially commisioned poem, A Sense of Denial, together with several other poems written specifically to the C Words season and inspired by the issues raised. A Sense of Denial Denial looks black, panelled,...

Full Circle – C Words commisioned poem by Simon Murray

Two poets from African Writers Abroad were commssioned to respond to the C Words season. To craft the poem below, Simon Murray (Sai MuRai) borrows the title of Dorothea Smartt’s poetry workshop “Full Circle” and draws upon some of the many words, phrases and themes that arose throughout the C Words season. The poem was performed live...

Visit Nigeria! a video tour

A selection of sights and sounds from the Niger Delta, courtesy of Friends of the Earth, whose court case against Shell’s oil spills began on 3rd December in The Hague. Find out more details about the case here, and read an article by Niger Delta activist and lawyer Chima Williams here.

Guardian Comment: Shell must clean up its act in Nigeria

Niger Delta activist and lawyer Chima Williams writes in The Guardian Comment is Free section today, revealing some of the ugly details of the Shell oil spills case in The Hague and placing Shell’s appalling environmental record under scrutiny: As Nigerian villagers take Shell to court over huge oil spills, it’s time for the group...