ECO-Tours only purchases trees and dirt to plant them in...

Monday, June 17, 2013

This Post By Tenney Naumer Shows What We Are Up Against

Saturday, June 15, 2013

TransCanada Is Secretly Briefing Police About Keystone XL Protests and Urging Terrorism Prosecutions

by Will Potter, "Red Is The New Green," June 12, 2013

TransCanada presentation to police about Keystone XL protesters. 
New documents show that TransCanada, the corporation behind the $5.3 billion Keystone XL oil pipeline, has been briefing police about non-violent protesters and urging prosecutors to consider them “terrorists.”

Environmentalists have waged a diverse campaign against the 2,000-mile pipeline that has included civil disobedience at the White House, tree sits and blockades, and a new lawsuit by the Sierra Club saying the U.S. State Department’s environmental review of the Keystone XL is “plagued by conflicts of interest.”

The tactics are working. In response, TransCanada is filing lawsuits across the country in hopes of deterring opposition; in Oklahoma, they recently filed a restraining order against protesters.
New documents show that TransCanada is also working behind the scenes with local police, providing cops with names and photographs of dozens of activists, warning of non-violent tactics, and urging terrorism prosecutions.

A TransCanada PowerPoint presentation was obtained by Bold Nebraska through the Freedom of Information Act. The briefing is dated December 11, 2012, and offers a rare look at how the energy industry giant is trying to silence its opposition.

Activist Dossiers

The presentation includes photographs, names, and background information on ”Tar Sands Blockade Leadership: Professionals [sic] Organizers.”

Ron Seifert is listed as a photographer and cyclist who “has been present at most protests in Texas.”
TransCanada presentation to police about Keystone XL protesters.Scott Parkin is a “professional activist” (a senior campaigner for the Rainforest Action Network, one of the most respected non-profit environmental groups in the country). He also “conducts most of the Non Violent Direct Action training.”

Rae Breaux is an “expert rock climber and trainer for Tree Sitting projects” and “has presented speeches.”

Most of the photos of activists appear to be taken directly from protest websites like Tar Sands Blockade. In other words, activists are not trying to hide their motivations. They are open about who they are, what they are doing, and why they are doing it.
Another slide on activist motivation describes the type of people TransCanada fears. The first quotation says, “I have been an activist for fifty years. I am seventy.”

“They may climb and occupy trees"

What have protesters done that is so troubling to TransCanada that they need to beg law enforcement for assistance?

“They may climb and occupy trees,” TransCanada warns.

In Oklahoma, ”a protester walked in to the lane of a slow moving vehicle.” There has been “no physical violence to this point.”

In Texas, there has been “demonstrations / protest activity,” “tree houses,” “banners,” “social media organization,” and again — no physical violence.

In Nebraska, where this briefing took place, there has been “protest/demonstrations” and “opposition attendance” at public meetings. At the very worst, landowners have allegedly been heard saying they “longed for the days when you could shoot people on your land.” However, there has not been any property destruction in the state, let alone violence.

“Try as TransCanada might to slanderize Tar Sands Blockade and our growing grassroots movement, we know who the real criminals are,” said Ron Seifert, a spokesperson with Tar Sands Blockade who was pictured in the slideshow. “The real criminals are those profiting from this deadly pipeline by endangering families living along the route and pumping illegal levels of air toxins into fence-line communities.”

Terrorism Prosecutions

TransCanada presentation to police about Keystone XL protesters.What’s particularly troubling about this presentation is that a corporation is briefing law enforcement about who, when, why, and how they should prosecute.

TransCanada offers police a playbook on how to go after activists. The company suggests prosecuting using criminal trespass, criminal conspiracy, criminal instrument or device (the PVC pipe used for non-violent civil disobedience), grand juries, and “federal/state anti-terrorism statues [sic].”

This isn’t empty rhetoric. In Texas, a terrorism investigation entrapped activists for using similar civil disobedience tactics. And as I reported recently for VICE, Oregon considered legislation to criminalize tree sits.

TransCanada has been using similar tactics in its home country as well (for a detailed look: “7 Ways Canadian Environmental Groups Are Being Attacked as Terrorists”).

In addition to briefing law enforcement, TransCanada is also hiring off-duty cops. In a brazen conflict of interest, local police are being paid extra cash during their off hours by the same corporation that is asking them to arrest protesters while they are on the job.

The Real Threat

One of the final slides of the presentation is particularly revealing in terms of what is at stake here. The list of “Potential Security Concerns” includes
  • Gulf Coast Project — recent media attention.
  • Keystone XL — media, high profile.
  • Environmental Activism.
  • Energy Action Coalition — “Fossil Fools Day”
  • Protest, Blockade, Threats, Office occupation
  • Future open houses, public meetings
  • Landowner court challenges
Notice the emphasis on media and public exposure? TransCanada is not pleading with law enforcement to crack down on property destruction or violence, because that’s not what this campaign is about. The campaign against the Keystone XL pipeline has resulted in widespread public support, and positive media coverage about people willing to non-violently put their bodies on the line.

That’s why TransCanada has also hired a new PR agent: the corporation says “we have been dwarfed by the content the activists have and are posting online with respect to Keystone XL.” And they say they may hire PR giant SKDKnickerbocker.

Something tells me the first recommendation from a new public relations firm will be “don’t create any more presentations like this.”

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Plant Trees Fix Carbon

ECO-Tours have been planting trees since the mid eighties. Hundreds of thousands of living beings are spreading their canopies and providing essential shade for a myriad of other critters and organisms. Each year they lay down another layer of carbon based storage in their tree rings, branches, roots and in the leaf litter that is slowly building up under them. When we started, it would have been hard to imagine what we would grow into, but the time keeps passing and we get stronger and more efficient as time goes by. When we started, only one person funded our work and that is myself. The only money I had available was a once per year check from my tax return which I would promptly turn into trees, buying them wholesale. Then I would ride my bicycle with a cart behind it, looking for likely prospects for planting. A great group of friends and relatives would help to plant along hedgerows, in river bottoms and on hillsides, placing each tree carefully in a spot that would be perfect for that species. Because we work with all volunteer labor and our administrative costs are provided by volunteers as well, all of our income is free to buy more tree seedlings and dirt to plant them in. As we grew, we needed to find a way to add hold time to our young sprouts, so we occasionally buy soil to plant the trees in and have over 1000 plastic pots that we use to create temporary nurseries. Through the years, we have had hundreds of visitors, each one giving of time/money or both to help get trees planted, potted up, protected from hungry critters and released from crowding tendrils of their competitors, all in the hope of creating forests where there had been none.

Many of our first trees are now taller than houses, casting much needed shade over many acres, providing habitat for billions of critters. As we mature as a group, we continue to research to find better and better ways of caring for the trees, increasing survival rates and becoming more efficient in our efforts. Our next few small cost capital expenditures are for a few pieces of hardware that will allow us to transform soils more quickly, and with less effort. The trees have a much better chance of survival if the soil is first broken and aerated. This begins the life processes upon which soil health begins. trees are only as healthy as the soils that they grow on. We are looking for donors to sponsor investment in at least one broadfork these human powered tools give all the benefits of tilling, but none of the drawbacks. Rototillers, in addition to compacting the lower half of their range tend to bounce off heavy clay soils and the stench that they spew, as well as the noise are completely at odds with our efforts to heal the planet. The broadfork is designed to break the soil open so that biological activity can begin to penetrate the earth, not turn the ground to powder. Once air and moisture can move through the soil easily, bacteria, fungi and other organisms can get a foothold and begin to flourish. Second, we are putting a call out to our supporters that we want to add some tools to our arsenal for helping to pick up more native tree seeds faster.We spend many hours each year as nut gatherers. 
These uniquely designed tools afford a way to effectively harvest tree seeds that help fuel our efforts. Trees have an even better chance of survival if they are sprouted in the same place that they will eventually grow and our nut planting efforts are increasing every year. several of these tools would help us to increase our efficiency and save many hours of labor. We are also designing a container for making char. This will allow direct introduction of bio-char to soils, increasing their carbon content for centuries as well as providing habitat for sopiul organisms that help to stabilize both moisture content and moderate extremes of climate, thus easing the stresses on our plantings. Carbon sequestration can take many forms and we are always in search of the most efficient ways to undo some of the ecocide that humans have been engaged in for the last century or so. Bio-char may be new to some, so I am including one more link to help explain this amazing process by which we can enhance soil quality and inject carbon into, rather than harvest it from the Earth. Biochar

We ask everyone to give what they can to our efforts. If you cannot afford to donate, contact us anyway and we can design a custom tour that you can take in your own backyard.