From: Anne Petermann <[log in to unmask]> <[log in to unmask]><[log in to unmask]><[log in to unmask]>
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Hi Mitch,
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Let's put aside the "invasiveness" question of eucalyptus trees for a moment.
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Eucalyptus trees are the number one tree used in industrial timber plantations all over the world.  Plantations that have caused massive deforestation in Brazil, Chile, Portugal and have replaced biodiverse native grasslands in South Africa.
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They are also the top tree being genetically engineered for traits included herbicide resistance, faster growth, reduced lignin and freeze tolerance.
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The USDA hopes to approve GE freeze tolerant eucalyptus trees for vast plantations across the coastal plain and gulf coast of the Southern US.  Estimates of half a billion trees planted per year.  This will lead to expanded deforestation in the Southeast.
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And the fact of the matter is, eucalyptus trees, especially as the age, become extremely flammable, as we saw in Portugal last week and in Chile in January--and in both areas the fires were also fueled by pine plantations.
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However, since the release we put out is trying to stop the unprecedented approval of GE eucalyptus trees in the US, we focused on their role in the fires.
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Eucalyptus plantations have caused not only ecological destruction, but human rights abuses--especially against Indigenous Peoples and peasants in countries like Brazil and Chile.  They also deplete water.  Communities in Brazil and Chile and South Africa are all suffering exacerbation of water crises, some have no water at all, due to the water-greedy eucalyptus plantations.
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One can be a fan of the eucalyptus tree but still be clear that industrial plantations of eucalyptus are extremely destructive.
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On Sat, Jun 24, 2017 at 9:16 AM, Mitchel Cohen <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Hi Anne,

Isis Feral in Oakland raises a very important critique of your framing of the issue of trees on fire in Portugal. We're discussing it across a number of lists, including ActionGreens,  SprayNo, and EcoRev -- and I was going to post your article, Isis's and others to additional lists as well. Before I do,  perhaps we can arrive at some sort of agreement based on attention to the nuances, here?

What is the role of GM trees, if any, in all of this?

What is the role of mono-cropped factory-modeled plantations of Eucalyptus vs. Eucalyptus trees here and there in natural environment?

Isis also very importantly challenges the labelling and libeling of "invasive species" as a twistory of the tree-cut industry in order to get their way, something I know we all are predisposed to reject because of its maligning of PEOPLE as "invading foreigners". Is it possible to go deeper here and reach a common understanding among radical ecologists like ourselves?

Thanks so much for all your work!


From: "[log in to unmask] [ActionGreens]"


I cannot support this petition, and urge you all not to get involved in this.

The problem is genetically modified, poison-dependent monoculture agriculture and the overall destruction of rainforests and all forests by agri-business.

The problem is NOT any particular tree species. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area we fight against the vilification of eucalyptus and pine trees, and other so-called 'non-native' species, which is used as an excuse to deforest.

Do not get sucked into this lie! 'Nativism' and 'invasionism' are promoted by the pesticide industry, In fact the 'invasive species' councils were all established with the help of Big Ag and Big Chem.

Two years ago we organized an event in Berkeley with conservation biologist David Theodoropoulos, who has done extensive research on the issue of 'nativism', and debunks the entire field of 'Invasion Biology' as a pseudoscience. Also speaking at the event was retired firefighter Dave Maloney, who was on the task force that investigated the 1991 Oakland fire that many people want to blame on eucalyptus trees. That task force came to the conclusion that this was wrong, and that greatest fire danger were people houses, which were often set the trees on fire, not the other way around.

Please watch this event in its entirety, and educate yourself about this issue, here:

You might also want to read the short article by Dave Maloney that was published in this week's San Francisco Chronicle, in which he points out that the U.S. Fire Service said that getting rid of eucalyptus in the East Bay hills would increase - not reduce - fire danger:

Stop Big Ag! Stop GMOs! Stop the deforestation of rainforests and forests everywhere! Stop the vilification of species!


---In [log in to unmask], <[log in to unmask]> wrote :


Marx's metabolic rift between capitalist production and the environment is epitomized in Portugal's eucalyptus wildfires. 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Anne Petermann/ Global Justice Ecology Project <[log in to unmask] >
Date: Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 4:16 PM
Subject: Portugal's Eucalyptus Wildfires: A Warning Against GE Eucalyptus in the US
To: [log in to unmask]

Portugal's Eucalyptus Wildfires: A Timber Industry Gone Amok
Harbinger of Threats from Proposed Eucalyptus Plantations in the US


The wildfires in Portugal over the last week have been called "the worst such disaster in recent history." Dozens of people burnt to death in their cars while trying to escape the inferno.

But this horrific tragedy was human-made. One-quarter of Portugal's forested landscape (more than 812,000 hectares or 2 million acres) has been replaced by explosively flammable, water-sucking non-native eucalyptus plantations.
The same plantations now being proposed for development across the US South using freeze-tolerant genetically engineered eucalyptus trees.  This proposal is being fought by a large international coalition of groups that have already collected more than 200,000 signatures opposing this USDA scheme.  Sign on to stop GE eucalyptus here

Oliver Munnion, Co-Director of Biofuelwatch, one of the groups helping fight GE eucalyptus in the US, lives in Portugal's eucalyptus wildfire zone. "We spent Wednesday night in a local school after some 30 villages were evacuated in our area. News reports say that a quarter of the municipality has burned. We've been lucky so far and still have our home, but many others have lost so much.

"It's time to face up to the reality that Portugal's vast eucalyptus and pine plantations, and the corruption and profiteering that comes with them, are the main reason that the country burns, every year. Coupled with the impacts of climate change, bringing hotter temperatures and drought, our area stands little chance. And the summer has only just begun. We condemn this blatant disregard for life and hope this tragedy stands as a warning against the commercialization of GE eucalyptus trees in the US." he added.

Chile also suffered horrific eucalyptus wildfires in January-the worst in their history. Both the fires in Chile and those in Portugal were the result of a reckless and poorly regulated timber industry, as well as policies under the UN that intentionally mislabel industrial tree plantations as "forests." 

These policies enable countries to rampantly cut down biodiverse native forests and replace them with non-native timber monocultures.  Not only are communities displaced, native plants and wildlife are pushed further and further out and climate change is exacerbated.  In Brazil eucalyptus plantations are called "green deserts."

"In the fires in both Chile and Portugal, the culprit was industry lobby and state support to spread eualyptus plantations," stated Felipe Grez of OLCA (Observatorio LatinoAmericano de Conflictos Ambientales) in Chile. "Flammable, water-sucking eucalyptus plantations have been expanding all over the landscape thanks to dangerous state subsidy schemes, which in Chile came about under Pinochet. Even though we supposedly have democracy now, we still live under the thumb of the repressive laws of Pinochet.
This is especially true for the Mapuche People.  Pinochet's timber subsidies resulted in a massive land grab against the Mapuches, and many Mapuche communities in the Araucan√≠a region where plantations are concentrated live in poverty.  Some have no fresh water because of the water-greedy plantations. 

And Pinochet's terrorism laws are used to violently put down Mapuche resistance to the timber industry.  Last week, Mapuches were murdered and a Mapuche school was teargassed just days after a protest to release Mapuche youth being held as political prisoners.
The human and ecological disaster associated with eucalyptus plantation expansion is well-documented.  The tragic results in both Chile and Portugal, where plantations reach right up to the edge of roads and towns, were inevitable.

We must not allow this disaster to be expanded with genetically engineered (GE) eucalyptus plantations.  GE eucalyptus are being developed to grow faster, resist toxic herbicides and/or tolerate freezing temperatures.  These traits would exacerbate the impacts of eucalyptus plantations and spread them to new regions currently too cold for eucalyptus to grow.

The US Department of Agriculture is accepting public comments until July 5th on a draft Environmental Impact Statement that recommends approval of the large-scale release of GE eucalyptus plantations across the U.S. South.

Both tragedies in Chile and Portugal sound the alarm regarding plans for genetically engineered eucalyptus plantations in the Southeast U.S.  This region already suffers from repeated droughts due to climate change.  The proposed development of one million acres of flammable, invasive, water-draining GE eucalyptus plantations in this region is a clear recipe for wildfire disaster.
Join the over 200,000 people who have already signed on to stop the USDA from approving these disastrous GE eucalyptus trees by clicking here
Thank you for taking action to protect our forests and communities from the devastation
of GE tree plantations.


Anne Petermann
Executive Director





Anne Petermann
global Justice Ecology Project
International Coordinator

266 Elmwood Avenue, Suite 307, Buffalo, NY 14222 USA
phone: +1.716.931.5833 / Mobile: +1.716.364.1188
skype: annepetermann

The ¬°Buen Vivir! Gallery for Contemporary Art is part of Global Justice Ecology Project's Social Justice Media Program. 

"Do not go gentle into that good night.  Rage rage against the dying of the light." - Dylan Thomas
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