Category Archives: Environment

Anti-Immigrant Group Kicks Pregnant Women out of National Conference

At Progressives for Immigration Reform’s (PFIR) 2nd National Conference on Immigration, Conservation and the Environment, on October 4, four pregnant women were kicked out after they raised concerns about mothers being blamed for environmental degradation.

During a talk by Californians for Population Stabilization’s Ben Zuckerman on the “impact of our growing population on our natural environment.” one woman asked the question, “Are you saying that the life inside of me is the problem? Won’t the next generation be leading us to new solutions?” According to a bystander, shortly after, the same mother stood up and said “my child is not the problem. My child is the solution.” As the other mothers stood up to show support, security guards physically escorted them out of the room while women sang “this little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”

According to the flyer, the women are “mothers concerned with finding real solutions to environmental problems…committed to raising children to be conscious of social justice AND environmental issues.”

Kicking pregnant women of color out of a meeting for expressing themselves is hardly progressive. Neither is PFIR, an anti-immigrant group funded by white nationalists that is a spin-off of controversial anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform. PFIR does not have a problem with population per se — they have a problem with the growing minority population. Since its inception, PFIR has attempted to use progressive frames around conservation to lure environmentalists into the anti-immigrant movement. They blame high immigration levels — including legal immigration — for ravaging the environment while ignoring their own devastating footprint on the planet, turning a blind eye to the detrimental environmental conditions in other countries created by multi-national capital that compels people to leave their homes, and disputing that immigration can actually help to fund and drive the green economy in this country.

All this is to say that PFIR is not anywhere near progressive or environmental friendly and no one should fall for their anti-immigrant drivel unless being progressive now means hating immigrants and our babies.

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Filed under Environment, Immigration

It's the Revenge of Farm Animals!

The Nov 4 elections were truly historic and momentous.

The country has spoken for change.

In California, farm animals now have more rights and people who want to marry someone they love have fewer rights.

By a vote of 63%, California decided to allow all egg-producing chickens more room to spread their wings. At the same time, voters eliminated the rights of same-sex couples to marriage, (a group that is vegan and vegetarian in larger comparative percentages than the heterosexual population).

Prop 2 requires that all farm animals “for all or the majority of any day” not be confined in a way that prevents it from lying down, standing up, turning around or extending its limbs without touching another animal or an enclosure such as a cage or stall. Those requirements target battery caged layers, stalled sows in both gestation and, apparently, farrowing and stalled veal calves. The requirements become effective in 2015. The law carries criminal penalties including fines and jail terms for violators.

Talk about karma. Maybe I should have listened to all my vegan and vegetarian friends and stopped eating chicken. I love animals, I am pro-environment, a tree-hugger even, but eating chicken is something that has carried over from another country, another culture. It is nonetheless, the only meat I eat and in rather limited amounts. It wasn’t enough.

The chickens got their revenge. Now every time I take a bite, I will think of how California voted to give the chickens more freedom while restricting my freedom.

There is one essential difference — the chickens cannot litigate for their rights. We can litigate for our rights (for now), so fear not, we will prevail!

The Petition for Writ of Mandate and Injunctive Relief filed on November 5, 2008 in the California Supreme Court is Strauss v. Horton, Action No. S168047

P.S. Kudos to Yes on 2.

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Filed under Environment, Human Rights, LGBTQ, Politics

ICE thawed: French terrorist allowed to roam free in the United States

I found this recently:


And snooped online to actually understand what was going on during that time period. It turns out that the original Rainbow Warrior was sunk in a terrorist attack by the French Government in 1985 (the President admitted it only 20 years later) so this must have been a replacement that I visited. The original ship was at the forefront of protests against French nuclear testing at Moruroa, Tahiti and now serves as a popular dive destination at Matauri Bay in New Zealand. Maintained by the local Maori community, it has become part of the complex ecosystem that it once served to protect … Wonderful story?

It’s amazing to revisit some half-understood, half-remembered childhood memories at an age where we can better understand–thanks to the Internet–what was really happening at that time. All I knew at the age of 10 was that we were supposed to be protesting French nuclear testing in Tahiti and that grew to be a major reason for my dislike for the French government that continues to this day (No, I don’t boycott French Fries and French products).

I dug further and discovered an article in the Guardian pertaining to this. The French leader that had led the bombing of Rainbow Warrior in 1985 now resides in the United States and sells arms/weapons to the United States government agencies. It also notes that U.S. immigration laws are supposed to bar people with records of violence and terrorist activity from residing in the United States:

“The law is very clear: persons involved in acts of terrorism are not admitted into the United States,” said Kelly Klundt, a spokeswoman for the customs and border protection agency.

No, seems like the United States government is only interested in detaining and deporting hard-working immigrants. Why isn’t ICE detaining and deporting terrorists?

More on the history of the Rainbow Warrior from Greenpeace:

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Filed under Environment, Immigration

Immigration leads to Global Warming? Nonsense!

That was the response from a friend over IM when I mentioned the latest anti-immigrant CIS report that foresees immigrants as a major cause of global warming. The report is titled Immigration to the United States and World-Wide Greenhouse Gas Emissions and available on the CIS website.

Anticipating attacks by the pro-migrant lobby, the report claims to not “blame immigrants” but also not dismiss the large role that immigrants are playing in increasing CO2 emissions worldwide:

Some may be tempted to see this analysis as “blaming immigrants” for what are really America’s failures. It is certainly reasonable to argue that Americans could do more to reduce per capita emissions. And it is certainly not our intention to imply that immigrants are particularly responsible for global warming. As we report in this study, the average immigrant produces somewhat less CO2 than the average native-born American. But to simply dismiss the large role that continuing high levels of immigration play in increasing U.S. (and thus worldwide) CO2 emissions is not only intellectually dishonest, it is also counterproductive. One must acknowledge a problem before a solution can be found.

The issue cuts through the heart of migrant rights and environmental justice. Why is it alright for the United States to export its pollution but not import people from the countries it is polluting? What about travel and tourism, even food exportation from lavish countries to poorer ones–does that not contribute to global warming? Trade liberalization under GATT, NAFTA and CAFTA keeps chipping away at environmental protections, re: Tuna/Dolphin case.

Immigration and Global Warming are not zero-sum games. The equation Immigration ==> Global Warming does not hold up under scrutiny. As a Pacific Islander, I can say for a fact that global warming is directly leading to immigration from the “Third World” (South) to the “First World” (North). Islands like Kiribati and Tuvalu are going under water as a result of emissions by countries such as Australia and the United States (facing lawsuits in the World Court). Developing and underdeveloped countries are facing more climatic variations leading to increased agriculture and crop loss, not to mention devastation from higher magnitude hurricanes that does encourage migration to countries in the North. So instead of a definite immigration –> global warming, we also have a global warming —> immigration.

The argument assumes that if these immigrants stayed in their countries, they would not get the chance to consume like most Americans, and hence not increase their carbon footprint. Is the CIS implying that improving standards of living for people through immigration or development in their own countries leads to global warming so improving their quality of life is wrong? How honorable. It does absolutely nothing to propose solutions to the very real problem of global warming (a fact that right wingers choose to overlook till they can use it against immigration), and is yet another means of immigrant scapegoating.

Furthermore, the report completely looks over the fact that the countries which contribute the most immigrants–legal or illegal–to the United States (India, China, Mexico) are developing countries where consumption rates are likely to explode in the future–another fact that right-wingers always point to themselves when told to rein in consumption by the G-8 nations. Again, the United States can take the lead in this matter and do something about its own consumption rates before it starts blaming population growth for the problem. If we rein in consumption patterns, our ecological footprint decreases and hence population growth–from immigrants or otherwise–becomes a less important issue. (I= PAT, Re: Paul Ehrlich).

For so long the scientists sounding an alarm about global warming were labeled as “Chicken Little” by the right-wing. Now right-wingers are using the arguments by their “Chicken Little” to sound alarms about so-called high immigration? How ironic.

I am not kidding. See this comment by rabid nativist Tom Tancredo:

I have no doubt that global warming exists. I just question the cause and what we can do to ameliorate it. But I wonder why the Sierra Club isn’t going crazy about the environmental aspects of massive immigration into the U.S. The fact is, Americans consume more energy than anyone else, so if a person moves here from another country, they automatically become bigger polluters.

Besides the fact that the assumption overgeneralizes the issue, it’s as ludicrous as saying that since greater gender equality encourages women in developing countries to improve their standards of living, thereby consume more and contribute to the ecological footprint, we must discourage gender equality.

The CIS admits that immigrants pollute less than their American counterparts. And for all we know, importing immigrant lifestyles and scientific innovation–especially by highly-skilled educated migrants–might just help to decrease global warming. For example, Indian migrants are more likely to use economical Japanese imported cars with less emissions than gas-guzzling SUVs.

The mainstream media needs to quit giving the CIS credibility by quoting their anti-immigrant based ‘findings’ and excuses for ‘research’ in actual articles unless it is as farce or satire:

Q: How do you make a conservative believe in global warming?
A: Blame it on immigrants!

Just a sidenote: CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas–so is methane and the production of beef and veal, oil and natural gas, and biomass energy all positively affect methane emissions intensity.

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Filed under Environment, Immigration