GREENPEACE vs. TOXIC POLICIES & LEADERS

donald trump tweet global warming

In an interview, the Campaigns Manager of Greenpeace Spain argues how Trump’s administration represents a threat to the progress that has been made in terms of gender and ethnic equality, and for sure: global warming. 

“Because environment is not isolated”

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María José Caballero,  Campaigns Manager of GP SPAIN and volunteer.

 

Maria José Caballero, Campaigns Manager of Greenpeace Spain has been almost 10 years working in this great NGO. Graduated as a biologist by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and then specialized in Management of NGO’s by ESADE, it’s pretty clear the profile of professional and conscious person she wanted to be: a volunteer.

I feel so grateful about how comfortable she made me feel, the interview turned into a close conversation. I’ve learned so many things thanks to this great woman in such a short time! She showed being an expert on international affairs because -among other things.- I had not even warned about my visit.

We started talking about her current projects, in order to understand deeply what are her functions in the core of the NGO.  In fact, she and her team are working on the “Break Free from Fossil Fuels” international campaign. And many others such as the Artic and Amazonas Projects; also they are working on national issues as the bees affected by insecticides with neonicotinoids and the help to the artisanal fishermen. The women as one of the main collectives affected by climate change also play an important role in their agenda-setting.

“Environment is not isolated, we fight for reach a fair society passing through people rights to climate protection” she said. Apparently, both of them with nothing in common. The thing is that the ecosystem needs to be carefully protected by institutions: the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe, the jobs we keep in order to survive, the home where we rest… and this is the aim of Greenpeace, rebuild an environment corrupted by corporations that, protected by states, destroys our ecosystems where human being, fauna, and flora must be keeping in balance. “We are living in a globalized world where the rules of the market are being imposed” she complained.

Related to “the water we drink”,  M. J. Caballero remind the situation living by the population along to the threatening pipelines of Keyston XL and Dakota. That last one, is feared because of the tribe’s water supply could be in danger and it also desecrated sacred lands. She said they and the population -without under the brand of Green Peace.- have stopped temporarily the construction of that pipeline. They are clearly more than social denouncement. They achieve real merits with real action.

resistAfter dissertation, I cut straight to the point, inquiring her about the “RESIST” banner by GREENPEACE USA in front of the White House and the consequent idea of political positioning or political lobbying that could be understood, she answered that Trump’s assumptions are totally against to the goals of the NGO and GP as a movement that pretends bring the power back to the people, they just pretend to protect the society from the threat that is living in their government by encouraging people. “We believe in a diversity world, far from xenophobia, racism, and sexism, and we are absolutely independent of political parties, nor ideologically neither economically speaking .” Obviously is the essence of any NGO being totally impartial in order to defend public interests, that specific topics states tend to avoid or forget.

Surprisingly, sometimes political parties and GP defend same laws reinforcements or paralyze them at international cooperation scenarios…

Protest ahead of Vote on EU-Canada Trade Deal at EU Parliament in Strasbourg


Action of GP while is approving CETA in the EuropeanParliament (Strasbourg)

…but with different intentions. Is the case of CETA agreement that was positively voted in European Parliament the past 15 of February. Between its opposition were Podemos, Marie Le Pen, and Los Verdes, for instance. Some because of their populist way to work and the achievement of their isolation aspirations; some others because of real worries about people and dangerous environment which is involved. And some, for the combination of both of those.

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The label of any product

CETA is a new ‘toxic’ trade agreement between EU and Canada that allows the free exportation between its territories. Why is it ‘toxic’? Easy. It would be toxic for our European democracy which has restrictive politics about toxic elements of hormone foods and its labels (“If they take away from us the capacity to choose freely, what’s left?” warned M. J. Caballero), not to mention the specific Tribunal that is pretending to implement to judge harmful reports to that trade individually from European and national laws from the Member States; or the dismissing of employees, taking into account that a lot of current European trade of food are producers from our borders.

While we were discussing these topics, we realized that she was running out of time, and I didn’t want to obstacle the key role that she means in the team of Campaigns with such an important work to do in this shocking scenario. So we said goodbye at the shout of:

“The fight continues!”

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María José Caballero being interviewed by student Alba Tissera at the headquarter of GP in San Bernardo,107, Madrid.

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Flood holds Germany its breath

(by Saskia Schink)

Hurricanes, tsunamis, floods – these are natural disasters, we hear regularly about from all around the world. Even in Europe there are every now and then such disasters, and even if they do not suppose the same dimensions, the suffering of those affected is as large. Germany currently struggling with heavy flooding in many areas, which let the memories come up to the ‘Elbe flood of the century’ in the year 2002. On the social networks, such as Twitter or Facebook, citizens organize themselves to help in the affected areas.

With the founder of the Facebook page “Hochwasser in Brandenburg” I have talked about the current situation and his assessment about it. Out of respect for his desire for anonymity he is appointed in the following interview just as Mister K.!

Brandenburg

Brandenburg

Mister K., according to information provided by the Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) the forced evacuation of the town Mühlberg/Elbe was arranged at noon today after the Elbe crest reached the town. How is the current situation there and do you know how many people have complied with this request?

According to my information from some firefighters there, they have given up the fight. The volunteer fire departments and the German Armed Forces have ended the mission by 18 o’clock and go back to their stations. How many people complied with the request, we do not know.

Meanwhile the press published precise figures and said that about two-thirds of the inhabitants have left the city after the case of disaster was declared. The police ensure that no unauthorized persons enter the city and make plundering. The dyke systems will be backed up makeshift to avoid any major damage to the houses.

It is thus calculated with dyke breaks which will cause some damage in the city. As perhaps generally known the Household insurance usually does not cover any costs for damage caused by flood. Remain those affected now sitting alone on their costs or will there be some support? From politicians, etc.?

According to the politicians who are on the spot they have assured support to the victims, but as we know the politicians, they will not help in my opinion. Ultimately, most people will be stuck with the cost and even have to pay for themselves. But a lot of people offer to help on Facebook. So many people who want to help, I have never seen; even people sitting in a wheelchair try to help and  give information to the fire department.

So bravely fight the flood helpers: Ronald Zeiler (48) shovels sand bags in Halle.

So bravely fight the flood helpers: Ronald Zeiler (48) shovels sand bags in Halle.

Where you just broach Facebook, I am thereby become aware of you. As how important you see the role of social networks in such a time of crisis?

Due Facebook and other virtual media, it is of course very easy to share information and it is also faster than the radio and the TV. In my opinion it is the second best support you can offer; we can provide coordination and assistance there.

Some of my friends have participated in precisely these Facebook appointments and went to other cities to help in filling sandbags there. How is the current situation in other cities of Brandenburg, for example Cottbus or Frankfurt / Oder?

Cottbus currently has some problems, but there the level values ​​are stable. At the Spreewald the catastrophe alarm has been triggered and many places are impassable. The Neisse River calms down towards Guben. I can not say what it looks like in other cities currently.

The Spreewald is a protected biosphere reservation and it is one of the most popular destinations in Brandenburg. But it is currently prohibited by proclamation of case of catastrophe, to drive with all types of boats on the entire channels and Spree-branches.

In Brandenburg, there are next to Frankfurt / Oder few other cities that are close to the border with Poland and are affected. Do you have information on measures of mutual assistance and cooperation between German and Polish authorities and aid workers?

Because I live near Guben/Gubin (Note by the author: Guben / Gubin, as well as Frankfurt / Oder, is separated only by a river from Poland.) I can say that both sides, Germany and Poland, try all to keep the dams. At the moment, the level of Neisse River drops.

Then a few final questions: Mister K., how do you evaluate personally the current situation in Brandenburg? And how do you see the prospects for the next few days? Is a similar extent as the Elbe flood of the century in 2002 expected in your opinion?

In my opinion the situation in some cities is really dramatic. However, the media tell so much, that people already panic when they turn on the TV. A similar extent as in 2002 will not be in my opinion.

Brandenburg’s Minister President Matthias Platzeck admonishes to rest, there is no reason to panic, but the situation should be viewed with healthy caution.

Summing up, the German population has indeed to face with a flood disaster that already also called first deaths and damaged houses, but it will probably not have the same dimensions as 11 years ago. This is particularly due to the measures taken after this flood of the century, which for example includes the construction of protective walls and dykes, but also due to the timely interventions and meetings of precautions by the population.

(Interview performed at 07.06.2013)