Eye on the Amazon: The Official Blog of Amazon Watch

"Welcome to America – Now Give Us Your Property or You're under Arrest!"

November 18, 2013 | Paul Paz y Miño

Donald Moncayo demonstrating oil contamination from a Chevron waste pit

It's Time to Fire Chevron's CEO!

Tell the Chevron board of directors to fire CEO John Watson. Since he took over, the company's bad behavior has only gotten worse.

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Donald Moncayo has been a friend and ally to Amazon Watch and a member of the affected communities in Ecuador dedicated to showing the world the truth of what Chevron (operating as Texaco) did to the rainforest in Ecuador. For eight years he has led "Toxi-tours" for journalists, environmentalists, elected officials and others to witness Chevron's destruction firsthand. Donald is no stranger to the foul smell and noxious contamination in Ecuador, but that wasn't enough to prepare him for the despicable treatment he would receive in a US federal court.

Last week Donald left Ecuador for the first time in his life after volunteering to testify in Chevron's sham trial in New York City. The trial where Chevron, the company that admits to deliberately dumping billions of gallons of oil drilling waters into the Ecuadorian rainforest, is suing the very victims of their own acts as extortionists.

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Brazilian Activists Bring Their Fire to Europe, Condemning Belo Monte

November 14, 2013

Stop Belo Monte!

Justice Now!

Join the worldwide chorus calling for justice by urging Brazil's Supreme Court to rule on lawsuits against the Belo Monte Dam!

TAKE ACTION

This week the global polemic surrounding Brazil's Belo Monte dam returns to Europe with a high-profile conference entitled "Belo Monte Mega-Dam: The Amazon up for grabs?" in the European Parliament in Brussels followed by major protests and public events in Paris. As the mega-dam comes under increasing scrutiny at home, with this week's huge worker's strike again paralyzing construction at its largest work camp only two weeks after a high Brazilian court suspended the project over gross illegalities, European observers are bringing forward their own critiques of Belo Monte and the "development" model it portends for the Amazon and its people.

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Through the Looking Glass in Chevron's Delusional Kangaroo Court

November 12, 2013 | Paul Paz y Miño

Donald Moncayo demonstrating oil contamination from a Chevron waste pit

It's Time to Fire Chevron's CEO!

Tell the Chevron board of directors to fire CEO John Watson. Since he took over, the company's bad behavior has only gotten worse.

TAKE ACTION

I spent today witness to a circus that bore some passing resemblance to a court of law in New York City. On one side of the room, Chevron's army of lawyers sat snickering as Judge Lewis Kaplan's condescending tone morphed into moments where he actually stood up and questioned the witnesses as if he were completing the legal squad: Gibson, Dunn, Crutcher and Kaplan in cahoots. On the other side, a small team overwhelmingly outgunned – some volunteer – lawyers, human rights activists and Ecuadorian Donald Moncayo, who had never even left Ecuador before.

If you had any doubts as to the assertions that this is nothing but a show trial then today would have blown them all away. Time and again Judge Kaplan stood up and continued questioning witnesses after Chevron's pack of hyenas had presumably finished. With one exception, every objection by Gibson Dunn was sustained and every one by the Ecuadorians' legal team overruled.

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How Responsible is Business for Social Responsibility?

November 8, 2013 | Paul Paz y Miño

Destruction from the Belo Monte Dam

Take Action!

Ask BSR to explain how they could invite Vale – the "worst corporation in the world" – to present at their conference via Twitter.

TWEET IT!

We're all quite conscious of the fact that corporations in America grow more powerful each day. One merely has to look at the elections since the fateful Citizens United decision to see how lobbying power and wealth can crush popular movements such as GMO labeling in California and Washington. These two charts show the extent to which corporate power is concentrated and which industries already wield powerful influence in specific states and should serve as a wake up call to anyone not already seriously concerned.

In the face of growing corporate power, engaging with corporations to create a climate of social responsibility has never been more critical. Networks such as Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) can play an important role in how civil society relates to and educates corporations to agree on norms and practices that could actually help create a more sustainable future. But when the exchange is used to help corporations merely polish their image without truly participating in good faith, it can do more harm than good. Groups like BSR should be especially careful about associating and promoting certain corporate actors. Indeed, this could undermine their entire mission.

This week in San Francisco, BSR severely tarnished its image in such a manner. On Thursday the Brazilian mining company Vale was invited to present its perspective on a panel entitled, "Voices of Rights Holders in the Extractives Industry." This is like inviting the CIA to a panel on the rights of victims of torture. Last year Vale won dubious distinction as the 2012 Public Eye Award Winner – a prize given annually to the worst corporation in the world. Vale is the second largest iron-ore mining company on the planet and the largest private shareholder in the consortium that is building the disastrous Belo Monte dam in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon.

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It's Green Festival Time! Join Amazon Watch this Weekend

November 7, 2013

San Francisco Green Festival FREE tickets here using this code: AMAZONWATCHGF13

Amazon Watch is honored to be an NGO partner of the Green Festival in San Francisco this weekend, November 9-10, 2013 at the SF Concourse Exhibition Center, 635 8th Street (at Brannan). We invite you to spend the weekend with us for free.

The Green Festival is the nation's premier sustainability event hosting leaders in the social justice and environmental community including Amy Goodman, John Trudell, and John Perkins. It also features a sustainable beer and wine garden, live cooking demos featuring delicious beverages and cuisine, a yoga pavilion and a dedicated kids' area for learning about easy and fun ways to incorporate green at a young age, plus the nation's largest and most diverse Green Marketplace, featuring hundreds of eco-friendly businesses, educational institutions and nonprofit organizations, including Amazon Watch.

Stop by our booth (#568 near back entrance) and don't miss Amazon Watch Program Director, Leila Salazar-López, who will be speaking alongside other powerful women and community leaders on two Saturday panels.

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