Without Your Walls : Time for transition

Dear Without Your Walls reader,
For three years Without Your Walls has been reporting from the front lines of climate justice with 20,000 visits to the site since it all began.

Without Your Walls is very happy to announce that it will be undergoing some exciting changes over the next month or so, so its out with the old and in with the new, which is going to include new contributors for original articles about climate justice, interviews with people actively fighting for climate justice and lots more.

Fingers crossed, the transition will be a smooth one, and your email subscription will stay intact. The website will likely be down for periods of time.

Along with the new name will come a new web address, stronger focus on the climate justice movement in Aotearoa [New Zealand] and lots of new sections to the website including links to getting active and access to lots of good solid climate justice related information as before. Please encourage your friends to sign up for email updates.

Thanks for all your interest, encouraging comments and especially your ACTION in the real world over the past three years.

See you on the other side in a few weeks!

Kia Kaha

Action Alert : Maori fishing skipper detained on navy warship for defending ancestral waters from Deep Sea Oil Drilling

Police, bottom left, move in to arrest the San Pietro skipper.

This is an Action Alert from Peace Movement Aotearoa :

Please forward on through your networks

Act now: Iwi fishing skipper detained on navy warship 23 April 2011
This action alert has four sections: what happened today, background information, what you can do, and where you can get more information. This message is available on-line at http://www.facebook.com/PeaceMovementAotearoa

What happened today
Elvis Teddy, skipper of the Te Whanau a Apanui tribal fishing boat San Pietro, was arrested at sea and detained on a navy warship while fishing in Te Whanau a Apanui ccustomary fishing grounds in the vicinity of the Orient Explorer, the deep sea oil survey ship ship currently conducting seismic testing in the Raukumara Basin on behalf of Brazilian oil company Petrobras. The arrest came the day after Maritime NZ withdrew the exclusion orders that police officers, assisted by the navy, issued to boats in the vicinity of the Orient Explorer last week.

This morning, Rikirangi Gage, CEO of Te Rununga o Te Whanau (Te Whanau a Apanui), radioed the Orient Explorer from the San Pietro as follows: “This is the San Pietro calling the Orient Explorer. You are not welcome in our waters. Accordingly and as an expression of our mana in these waters and our deep concern for the adverse effects of deep sea drilling, we will be positioning the Te Whanau a Apanui vessel directly in your path, approximately one and a half nautical miles in front of you. We will not be moving, we will be doing some fishing. We wish to reiterate that this is not a protest. We are defending tribal waters and our rights from reckless Government policies and the threat of deep sea drilling, which our hapu have not consented to and continue to oppose. We have a duty to uphold the mana of our hapu here in our territorial waters.” – the radio broadcast is available here

In response, two navy warships – HMNZS Taupo and HMNZS Hawea – sent inflatables with navy personnel and police officers to board the San Pietro and threatened to arrest all on board. Elvis Teddy was arrested, detained on one of the navy vessels, and taken to Tauranga while the others on board were left to crew the San Pietro.

Background information:
On 1 June, the government awarded Brazilian oil company Petrobras a five-year exploration permit for oil and gas in the Raukumara Basin.

The first two stages of exploration involve seismic surveying – firing compressed air from the surface to the seabed, and measuring the acoustic waves bouncing back to the sonar array trailing 10 kilometres behind the Orient Express. Seismic surveying can have an adverse impact on marine life, especially marine mammals. The current surveying is taking place during the season of whale migration along the East Coast.

The permit includes permission for Petrobras to drill an exploratory well. The massive oil and gas spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year, which took three months to cap and spilled millions of barrels of oil into the ocean, was from an exploratory well at a depth of 1500 metres.

In the Raukumara Basin, the proposed depths for drilling an exploratory well range from 1500 to 3000 metres. The Raukumara Basin sits on a major and active fault line, and a simple search of geonet –  shows there are frequent earthquakes in the area. It is therefore particularly risky to place any sub-sea installation, such as an oil well, there.

Te Whanau a Apanui were not consulted about the exploration permit, nor did they give their consent for the seismic survey.

What you can do
Contact your local MP as soon as possible and express your concern about the exploration permit, the lack of consultation with Te Whanau a Apanui, the arrest of the skipper of a vessel exercising customary fishing rights, and the protection of the interests of a foreign oil company at the expense of the rights of the local iwi.

Contact details for all MPs are here

Where you can get more information
You can get more information on the No Drilling site, at the Te Whanau a Apanui page here and the Stop the Drilling on Our East Coast here

Some photos from the Te Whanau a Apanui protest in Wellington on 20 April are athere

Wave of protest across Aotearoa marks anniversary of the BP Gulf Oil spill

New Zealanders from Dunedin to Auckland led globalised protests to commemorate the one-year anniversary of BP’s Gulf Oil Disaster by demanding an end to the environmental destruction and climate destabilization created by fossil fuel and other extractive industries. Communities of Aotearoa stood alongside environmental, climate, and social justice groups all over the world in an International Day of Direct Action Against Extraction.

New Zealanders in Taranaki, Wellington, Dunedin, Whanganui, Nelson, Auckland, the East Cape and more were joined by Gulf Coast residents fighting offshore drilling, Appalachians resisting mountaintop removal coal mining, Pennsylvania and New York residents opposing natural gas hydrofracking, Canadians fighting tar sands mining in Alberta and more across the globe.

Reports of global activities are being compiled by Rising Tide North America at the www.extractionaction.net website.

Looks like we’ve got a movement on our hands…


Anniversary of the BP oil spill | Camp For Climate Action Aotearoa

New Zealand Wakes Up To The Global Day Of Action Against Extraction | Voxy.co.nz

Wellington.scoop.co.nz » Protestors deliver anti-mining message to Wellington businesses

Group rallies at Mount Maunganui against sea drilling

Oil spill remembrance marked by city march » The Gisborne Herald

Protest against oil exploration in New Zealand – Wellington | Demotix.com

Gisborne, NZ actions | Act Against Extraction

No Drilling Raukumara

Disaster marked with drilling protest | Stuff.co.nz

Gisborne hikoi against East Cape oil prospect

Global day of Action | Protest raises the dangers of oil spill

International [more updates coming through at www.extractionaction.net]

Gas stations have hoses locked in apparent anti-oil protest | abc7news.com

Flyover, vigils mark Gulf oil disaster anniversary – Action 3 News – Omaha, Nebraska News, Weather,.

Anti-BP Activists Stage Nude Lie-In, Pour Oil at Tate Britain

Protest Held In North Philadelphia To Mark Anniversary Of BP Oil Spill

Fishermen protest BP spill in Biloxi, MS | Act Against Extraction

Washington, DC: Activists tie up BP office doors with banner | Act Against Extraction

Photos and Video

Photo Essay: Apanui Iwi Protest Deep Sea Oil Drilling in NZ | Scoop News

Ahi Ka Action Group | Demotix.com

Wellington protest against oil drilling

anti drilling campaign 20th April

Outside the Brazillian Embassy

Flickr: The Day of Action against deep sea oil Pool

Taranaki in Solidarity – Global Day of Action Against Extraction

Hikoi Against Extraction: Remember the Gulf of Mexico.

Rio +20: Resisting market environmentalism and strengthening rights and social-environmental justice

The Potential of Rio + 20

In June 2012 Rio de Janeiro will host an event that may symbolize the end of a period and the beginning of a new one. Rio + 20 is expected to carry out a comprehensive assessment of the 1990s UN conferences beginning with Rio 92 and including the conferences on population, human rights, women, social development and the urban agenda. It is also during 2012 that the Kyoto Protocol will expire.

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development / Rio +20 proposes to discuss three issues: assessment of compliance with the commitments agreed to in Rio 92, the green economy and the institutional architecture for sustainable development. Rio + 20 therefore, has the potential to be a moment to, at the same time, assess the successes and failures of the past two decades and also identify a new agenda of struggles ahead.

Click here to read the Brazilian environmental and social justice group FASE’s discussion piece on RIO+20

Amazon Watch : From Amazon to Zealand

Brazilian oil interests go global, stirring conflicts with Maori indigenous communities.

April 15, 2011 | Andrew E. Miller

Protests on the beach in New Zealand

“So, you are an artist and activist?” I inquired with Ora Barlow as we sat down for morning coffee in mid-March. “I’m just a local person who is concerned about the future of my community,” she replied.

By happenstance, our respective travel plans had brought us both to the west coast of Aotearoa’s (New Zealand’s) north island. A Maori musician from the Te Whanau-a-Apanui people, Ora plays with the three-woman band Pacific Curls. They had just performed the night before in New Plymouth. I was there on vacation with my wife, visiting my brother-in-law.

In the last year, Ora has become an accidental activist. On June 1st of 2010, New Zealand‘s government publicly announced a contract with Petrobras, offering a huge off-shore gas exploration concession along the north island’s east coast. This was a shocker for coastal Maori communities, who were hearing about the deal for the first time. The announcement was made right at the height of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Bonfires of protest Local communities were swift to express their discontent: they organized coordinated beach protests, lighting bonfires up and down the coast as an act of symbolic opposition to the plans. At the time, organiser Ani Pahuru-Huriwai said. “This is the way we all informed each other, signaled each other way back – through fire. In this case we’re saying that it’s Petrobras that we’re all against.”

Since then, Ora has focused her energies on public education at a local level about Petrobras and what’s at stake for the Raukumara Basin. She helped organize a highly successful “Stop the Drilling!” music festival to raise these issues with Maori community members, which attracted 1,500 concert-goers. She also contributed to a three-page issue brief that is currently educating people within New Zealand and beyond about the campaign.

Map of potential oil and coal expansion in Aotearoa

Though some areas of New Zealand have seen oil and gas exploitation for decades, the right-wing government has just recently launched their “Petroleum Action Plan” to expand such activities far and wide all around the country. Communities elsewhere are also just beginning to understand the deals having been made with oil and gas interests. Local resistance efforts are flowering around the country as a result.

Listening to Ora, I was stunned to hear that consultation with indigenous communities around resource extraction within their territories is as bad or perhaps worst than what we see around the Amazon. Community access to prior information is zero and the “consultation” is held with government-selected councils that are unrepresentative of the actual grassroots communities. I asked myself, “Is it really possible that the government of New Zealand is on par with that of Peru?”

Encouragingly, the localized resistance campaigns around New Zealand are gaining momentum. Understanding the importance of strength in unity, they are reaching out to other communities within their region and increasingly across the country. A number are organizing events as part of the April 20th global day of action against fossil fuels.

In the immediate term, the campaign against Petrobras’ deep-water concession is heating up. A local indigenous call for national solidarity has galvanized a group of Kiwi environmental groups to launch a flotilla of ships from Auckland harbor to the East Coast. The initiative is starting to bring a national-level media spotlight on the situation.

For our part, I committed that Amazon Watch would work to connect Ora and fellow Maori leaders with strategic contacts including Brazilian indigenous federations and organizations dealing with Petrobras in other contexts. As we have seen with our work across the Amazon, direct indigenous to indigenous exchanges of information and solidarity can help mutually strengthen their respective struggles.

In a serendipitous turn of events, I learned that Sydney Possuelo – the renowned Brazilian defender of the Amazon’s “lost tribes” or indigenous peoples in state of voluntary isolation – is living in New Zealand for the next two years. During my visit I facilitated an initial meeting between him and a local climate justice activist, Gary Cranston, who is working closely with Ora and the Petrobras campaign. My hope is that Sydney will provide first-hand knowledge of Petrobras and Brazilian connections that will strengthen indigenous efforts in New Zealand.

The success of this kind of campaign will depend on local conviction, persistence, and creativity. Indigenous organizers like Ora Barlow are part of a new generation of leaders who will carry the campaign forward in the years to come. As she and others step forward to challenge powerful economic and political interests, we should educate ourselves about their campaign and offer support when and where we can.

To learn more: