Category Archives: Extraction

Palestine Between a Rising Tide and Apartheid

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Systems of colonialism and militarism are destroying both human rights and the environment. Palestinians live in a part of the world that is warming faster than the global average, under a system of Israeli settler colonialism, military occupation, and apartheid. Their experiences offer a clear example of how climate change multiplies existing injustices and inequalities.

Today, we introduce “Between a Rising Tide and Apartheid,” a new series of visuals that illustrates the intersection between the Palestinian rights movement and the environmental/climate justice movements. Learn from Palestinian experiences with climate vulnerability, green colonialism, environmental racism, and colonial extraction. Be sure to also register for our upcoming event to expand on the topics covered in these visuals.

JOIN US FOR AN ONLINE DISCUSSION BASED ON THESE VISUALS

Thursday, January 20, 2022

12:00–1:30 New York / 7:00-8:30 Jerusalem

Join the VP team in conversation with Zena Agha, Asmaa Abu Mezied, and Daleen Saah. Zena and Asmaa are researchers with expertise in climate change in Palestine, and Daleen partnered with VP in the conceptualization and design of these visuals.

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The post Palestine Between a Rising Tide and Apartheid first appeared on Dissident Voice.

A New Water Source That Could Make Drought a Thing of the Past

Lack of fresh water is now a global crisis. Water shortages mean food shortages, with hunger creating death tolls substantially exceeding those of the current Covid-19 crisis. According to the United Nations, some 800 million people are without clean water, and 40% of the world’s population is impacted by drought. By one measure, almost 100 percent of the Western United States is currently in drought, setting an all-time 122-year record. Meanwhile, local “water wars” rage, with states, cities and whole countries battling each other for scarce water resources.

The ideal solution would be new water flows to add to the hydrologic cycle, and promising new scientific discoveries and technologies are holding out that possibility.

But mainstream geologists have long contended that water is a fixed, non-renewable resource; and vested interests are happy to profit from that limiting proposition. Declaring water “the new oil,” an investor class of “Water Barons” —including wealthy billionaire tycoons, megabanks, mega-funds and investment powerhouses — has cornered the market by buying up water rights and water infrastructure everywhere. As Jo-Shing Yang, author of Solving Global Water Crises, wrote in a 2012 article titled “The New ‘Water Barons’: Wall Street Mega-Banks are Buying up the World’s Water”:

Facing offers of millions of dollars in cash from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, UBS, and other elite banks for their utilities and other infrastructure and municipal services, cities and states will find it extremely difficult to refuse these privatization offers.

For developing countries, the World Bank has in some cases made water privatization a condition of getting a loan.

Competing Theories

Geologists say that all of the water on Earth, including the atmosphere, oceans, surface water and groundwater, participates in the natural system called the “hydrologic cycle,” a closed circuit in which water moves from the surface to the atmosphere and back again. Rainwater falls, becoming groundwater which collects in aquifers (underground layers of porous rock or sand), emerging as rivers and lakes, and evaporating into clouds to again become rain. New water called “juvenile water” may be added through volcanic activities, but this addition is considered to be negligible.

The most widely held theory is that water arrived on the planet from comets or asteroids, since any water on Earth when it was first formed would have evaporated in the intense heat of its early atmosphere. One problem with that theory is that comet water is different from Earth water. It has a higher ratio of deuterium (“heavy water” with an extra neutron in it). Asteroids, too, are not a good fit for Earth’s water.

A more likely theory gaining new attention is that Earth’s water comes largely from within. Minerals containing hydrogen and oxygen out-gas water vapor (H2O) under intense pressure and heat from the lower mantle (the layer between Earth’s thin crust and its hot core). Water emerges as steam and seeps outward under the centrifugal force of the spinning earth toward the crust, where it cools and seeps up through the fractured rock formations of the crust and the upper mantle.

Studies over the past two decades have found evidence of several oceans’ worth of water locked up in rock as far down as 1,000 kilometers, challenging the assumption that water arrived from space after  Earth’s formation. A study reported in January 2017 based on isotopes from meteorites and the mantle found that water is unlikely to have arrived on icy comets after Earth formed.

Another study, reported in New Scientist the same month, showed that Earth’s huge store of water may have originated via chemical reactions in the mantle rather than coming from space. The researchers ran a computer simulation of reactions between liquid hydrogen and quartz in Earth’s upper mantle. The simulation showed that water forms within quartz but then cannot escape, so the pressure builds up – to such high levels that it could induce deep earthquakes. Rather than hydrogen bonding into the quartz crystal structure, as the researchers expected, it was found to disrupt the structure by bonding with oxygen. When the rock melts under intense heat, the water is released, forming water-rich regions below Earth’s surface. The researchers said that water formed in the mantle could reach the surface in various ways — for example, via magma in the form of volcanic activity — and that water could still be being created deep inside the Earth today. If so, that means water is a renewable resource.

New Technological Solutions

The challenge is drawing this deep water to the surface, but there are many verified cases of mountaintop wells that have gushed water for decades in arid lands. This water, which could not have come from the rainwater of the conventional hydrologic cycle, is variously called “deep-seated,” “juvenile” or “primary” water. It is now being located and tapped by enterprising hydrogeologists using technological innovations like those used in other extractive industries – but without their destructive impact on the environment.

According to Mark Burr, CEO of Primary Water Technologies,  these innovations include mapping techniques using GIS layering and 3-D modeling, satellite imagery and other sophisticated geophysical data collection; radiometrics, passive seismics, advanced resistivity and even quantum physics. A video capturing one of his successful drills at Chekshani Cliffs, Utah, and the innovative techniques used to pinpoint where to drill, can be seen here.

Burr comments that locating “primary water” does not require drilling down thousands of feet. He says that globally, thousands of primary water wells have been successfully drilled; and for most of them, flowing water was tapped at less than 400 feet. It is forced up from below through fissures in the Earth. What is new are the innovative technologies now being used to pinpoint where those fissures are.

The developments, he says, mirror those in the U.S. oil and gas industry, which went from cries of “Peak Oil” deficiency to an oil and gas glut in less than a decade. Dominated for 40 years by a foreign OPEC cartel, the oil industry was disrupted through a combination of scientific advancements (including recognition of abiotic oil and gas formations), technological innovation, and regulatory modernization. The same transformation is under way in water exploration and production.

Water Pioneers

These developments were pioneered in the U.S. by Burr’s mentors, led by Bavarian-born mining engineer and geologist Stephen Riess of San Diego. Riess drilled over 800 wells around the world before his death in 1985 and was featured in several books, including New Water for a Thirsty World (1960) by Dr. Michael Salzman, professor of economics at the University of Southern California.

Partnering with Riess until his death was Hungarian-born hydrogeologist Pal Pauer, founder of the Primary Water Institute based in Ojai, California. Pauer has also successfully located and drilled over 1,000 primary water wells worldwide, including over 500 in East Africa. One noteworthy well was drilled high on the top of a mountain in Kenya at Ngu-Nyumu, captured in a short video here. The workers drilled through rock and hit water at 300 feet, pumping at 15-30 gallons per minute. The flow, which is now being captured in a water tank, is still serving hundreds of villagers who were previously hauling water from heavily infested streams in jugs balanced on their heads.

Another remarkable mountaintop project overseen by Pauer involved two wells drilled at a 6,000 foot elevation in the Tehachapi Mountains in California. The drill first hit water at 35 feet. The 7-inch diameter borehole proceeded to eject water at a rate estimated to be over 800 gallons per minute. The event is captured on YouTube here.

Like California, Australia is an arid land with chronic water problems. An Australian company called Sustainable Water Solutions (SWS), a partner of Burr’s Primary Water Technologies, was featured on a local TV news program here. A video of one of SWS’s successful case studies detailing its methodologies is here.

A rival company is Australian-based AquaterreX Deep Seated Water Technology. According to its website, AquaterreX is an international enterprise employing  geology, environmental and earth sciences with a range of proprietary methodologies to identify and analyze geologic, hydrologic, atmospheric, and other data to locate reliable sources of Deep Seated Water with nearly 100% accuracy. Some of the company’s results are shown in a video which describes “deep-seated water” as being stored in a deeper layer of aquifers below those of the conventional hydrologic cycle.

Fresh Water Is Ubiquitous and Renewable

What these researchers call “primary water” or “deep seated water” is classified by the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) simply as a form of “groundwater,” since it is in the ground. But whatever it is called, these newly tapped flows have not been part of the hydrologic cycle for at least the last century. This is shown on testing by the lack of the environmental contaminants found in the hydrologic water cycle. From the time when atomic testing began in the Pacific, hydrologic water has contained traces of tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen used as a fuel in thermonuclear bombs. Primary water shoots up tritium-free —clean, fresh and usually drinkable without filtration.

The latest NGWA fact sheet explicitly confirms that water is a renewable resource. It states:

  • About 90 percent of our freshwater supplies lie underground, but less than 27 percent of the water Americans use comes from underground sources, which illustrates the under-utilization of groundwater.
  • Groundwater is a significant water supply source — the amount of groundwater storage dwarfs our present surface water supply.
  • Hydrologists estimate, according to the National Geographic Society, U.S. groundwater reserves to be at least 33,000 trillion gallons — equal to the amount discharged into the Gulf of Mexico by the Mississippi River in the past 200 years.
  • At any given moment, groundwater is 20 to 30 times greater than the amount in all the lakes, streams, and rivers of the United States….
  • Groundwater is a renewable resource. [Emphasis added.]

In some states, such as Texas,  property owners have the right to capture the water beneath their property  (called the “Rule of Capture”), but this is not true in other states. California, for example, has a complicated system of regulation requiring costly and laborious permits. Granting property owners the right to drill wells on their own property, particularly where the water has been tested and shown to be “deep” or “primary water,” could be a major step toward turning water scarcity into abundance.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. needs over $500 billion in infrastructure investment just for drinking water, wastewater, stormwater and dams. But legislators at both federal and state levels have been slow to respond, chiefly due to budget constraints. One proposal is a National Infrastructure Bank (HR 3339) constructed on the model of Franklin Roosevelt’s Reconstruction Finance Corporation (discussed in my earlier article here). When allocating funds for water usage, however, policymakers would do well to consider investing in “primary water” wells.

Tapping into local deep water sources not only can help ease pressures on debt-strapped public treasuries but can bypass the Water Barons and relieve territorial tensions over water rights. Water sovereignty is a critical prerequisite to food sovereignty and to national and regional independence. As noted in a recent Water Today article, quoting James D’Arezzo:

The fact is, we do not have to severely restrict water usage, if we leverage all the tools at our disposal. There is plenty of water available on the planet and we now know how to find it. We also have newer best practices that can make a dramatic difference in total usage…. If we start acting now, in a short time the headlines about ‘water restrictions’ and grotesque pictures of dead animals and starving children can be replaced with headlines about more food production, smarter use of water and less conflict.

• First published in ScheerPost.

The post A New Water Source That Could Make Drought a Thing of the Past first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Solidarity with Resistance to Extraction

People the world over are opposing fossil fuel extraction in an incalculable number of ways.  It is now clear that burning fossil fuels threatens millions of Life forms and could be laying the foundation for the extermination of Humanity.  But what about “alternative” energy?  As progressives stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those rejecting fossil fuels and nuclear power, should we despise, ignore, or commend those who challenge the menace to their homes and their communities from solar, wind and hydro-power (dams)?  The Green Party of St. Louis/Gateway Green Alliance gave its answer with unanimous approval of a version of the statement below in May, 2021.

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Global Conflicts Over Fossil Fuels, Nuclear and Alternative Energy

The monumental increase in the use of energy is provoking conflicts across the Earth.  We express our solidarity with those struggling against extraction, including these examples.

Standing Rock, North Dakota.  We stand in solidarity with the on-going Native American protests at Standing Rock in North Dakota protesting environmentally irresponsible and culturally damaging pipelines that transport crude oil extracted from tar sand, destroying their ancestral lands. So-called “clean” and “renewable” energies depend on the climate killer oil for their production.

Ogoni People vs. Shell.  We stand in solidarity with the Movement for Survival of Ogoni People against Shell. The Niger-Delta was devastated and traditional culture weakened by soil, surface and groundwater contamination that makes farming and fishing impossible.  Local communities still seek to receive denied compensation, clean-up, a share of the profits and a say in decision-making.

Coal extraction in India.  We stand in solidarity with the Centre for Policy Research in India as it opposes efforts by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to open 41 new coal mines because burning coal is a major factor in climate change, leads to asthma, premature births, and spreads toxins (including mercury) by air, water and land.

Fracking in Pennsylvania.  We stand in solidarity with the Green Party of Pennsylvania which has opposed fracking since 2008 when it realized that use of volatile chemicals could harm local communities and waterways and contribute to climate instability. Local residents have become ill and major waterways and delicate ecosystems have been damaged.

Nuclear power and Olympic Games.  We stand in solidarity with the No Nukes Action Committee of the Bay Area who are demonstrating against the Olympic Games slated for Tokyo in order to raise awareness of the ongoing disaster of Fukushima nuclear power since nuclear power is deadly and intimately connected with the potential for nuclear war.

Uranium Mining in Africa.  We stand in solidarity with “Solidarity Action for the 21 Villages” in Faléa, Mali against the French multinational COGEMA/Orano. After years of struggle, this NGO defeated a uranium mine through community mobilizing.  Aware of the detrimental effects on health, environment, agricultural land, water sources and cultural heritage, they are still fighting to undo already done infrastructural damage.

Solar arrays in Washington State.  We stand in solidarity with rural Klickitat County, WA residents who are being invaded by industrial solar facilities which would exceed 12,000 acres and undermine wildlife/habitat, ecosystems, ground/water, and food production because solar panels and lithium ion batteries contain carcinogens with no method of disposal or re-cycling and could contribute to wildfires from electrical shortages.

Wind turbines in Broome County NY.  We stand in solidarity with the Broome Tioga Green Party’s fight against industrial wind turbine projects that would increase drilling and mining, dynamite 26 pristine mountain tops, and destroy 120,000 trees while requiring precious minerals and lithium for batteries and being dependent on fossil fuels for their manufacture, maintenance and operation.

Hydro-power in Honduras.  We stand in solidarity with the indigenous Lenca people opposing the Agua Zarca dam on the Gualcarque River in Honduras whose leader Berta Cáceres was murdered for uniting different movements to expose how dams destroy farmland, leave forests bare, disturb ancestral burial sites, and deprive communities of water for crops and livestock.

Lithium mining in Thacker Pass.  We stand in solidarity with activists aiming to stop Lithium Americas’ Thacker Pass open-pit mine (Nevada).  Essential for electronic devices including electric cars, the mine would destroy rare old-growth big sagebrush, harm wildlife including many endangered species and lower the water table. Its operation would require massive fossil fuel use and toxic waste ponds.

Cobalt Extraction in DR Congo.  We stand in solidarity with the child laborers slaving and dying in Democratic Republic of Congo cobalt mines.  Cobalt is an essential ingredient for some of the world’s fastest-growing industries—electric cars and electronic devices. It co-occurs with copper mining, used in construction, machinery, transportation and war technology worldwide.

Child Labour in Democratic Republic of Congo

Most of all, we stand in solidarity with thousands upon thousands of communities across the Earth opposing every form of extraction or transmission for energy which seeks to cover up human health and environmental dangers.

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The version adopted by the Gateway Green Alliance differs only by referring to its organizational name in the text.  If you would like to join those spreading the word regarding the need to challenge all forms of energy extraction because we can provide better lives for every society on Earth by reducing the global production of energy, please contact the author at the email below.

The post Solidarity with Resistance to Extraction first appeared on Dissident Voice.