As some of you know, I've been to a Greenpeace volunteers and activists camp over the weekend. It took place in a lovely old castle in Lower Austria, started on Friday afternoon and went on until Sunday afternoon. The place is very nice and I hope to upload some pictures soon.
The days were occupied by a large selection of presentations and workshops as well as two taster courses one regarding climbing and the other gave an insight into non-violent acting. I liked both of them very much, though I've returned with quite a muscle ache from the climbing session (it was actually more about abseiling/rappelling than climbing).
The workshops and presentations were quite interesting as well. I've learnt several new things about some of the campaigns that I'd like to share. One of them regards the Congo and activities surrounding the forests. Currently there is a lot of poaching going on, the best trees are cut down deep in the forest and carried out of the wood on roads carved into the forest destroying a lot of the "invaluable" part of it. As is often the case local people don't gain anything from the robber economy. We were shown so called treaties of shame where logging companies agreed to pay some stuff like machetes and among them probably some glass beads as well in exchange for lumbering rights. Resources worth hundreds of thousands of dollars are paid with $100 in trinkets. You can read more about this here and here.
The next interesting topic was about palm-oil and how Indonesia has risen to become one of the largest CO2 emitting countries in the world. Large parts of the rain forest there are burnt down to make room for palm plantations. The demand for palm oil has risen dramatically over the years ever since Biodiesel started using up a lot of oil harvested from rape (Raps) and other plants. Companies that formerly used these kind of oil to produce their goods find them searching for alternatives and palm oil fit the niche. To some part Palm-oil is also directly used in fuel, but it was said it is not as good as other oils. Still it seems the industry is willing to expand in that region. The whole situation feels like robbing Peter to pay Paul and my conclusion was that Biodiesel is better to be avoided altogether. You are definitely not more environmental friendly driving with something gained out of burning down rain forests and draining of the peat (Torf) grounds unlocking milliones of tonnes of CO2 in the process.
There had been also some information regarding local activities and campaigns, but I'll leave it at that.