Outsourcing Climate Solutions: CA to ChiapasPresentation Transcript
From California’s Industrial Corridors to the Rainforest of Deep Mexico
Photo by Orin Langelle On November 16, 2010, California’s then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger penned an agreement with Chiapas, Mexico’s Governor Juan Sabines as well as the head of the province of Acre, Brazil to provide carbon offsets from Mexico and Brazil to trade with polluting industries in California, under California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32). Under the plan, the Lacandon Jungle and other forests of Chiapas, would act as a carbon sink for California’s industries.
Photo by Communities for a Better Environment The low-income, primarily Latino community of Wilmington in the harbor region of Los Angeles is overshadowed by refineries and the Port of LA. The harbor region is home to California's highest concentration of oil refineries, such as the Conoco-Phillips refinery, shown here. Wilmington families face health risks from daily emissions, frequent refinery flaring, and accidents.
Photo by Communities for a Better Environment Children at Suva Elementary School play next to a chrome plating facility. High numbers of cancer and miscarriages have been recorded among the teachers and students.
Photo by Yuki Kidokoro Southeast Los Angeles residents protest the South Coast Air Quality Management District's pollution credit proposal that would have allowed power companies to access cheap pollution credits, which in turn could have enabled eleven new fossil fuel power plants in the area.
Photo by Tracy Perkins California’s San Joaquin Valley may not look like an industrial zone, but industrial agriculture has made it one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions and one of the most polluted air basins in the U.S. Some residents fear that California’s Global Warming Solutions Act will, ironically, make their air quality even worse.
Photo by Tracy Perkins Josefina Miranda shows her daughter how she protects herself when she works in the fields. When Miranda was pregnant with an earlier child, she and her co-workers were put to work in a field still wet with pesticides. By the time they left, her clothes were so soaked that she could wring the pesticides out of them. She miscarried the next day.Earlimart, CA.
Photo by Tracy Perkins San Joaquin Valley resident Tom Frantz is one of the plaintiffs in the AB 32 lawsuit. Here, he leads a "toxic tour" to educate people about the pollutions in the Valley. The low visibility is caused by tule fog and exacerbated by air pollution. Pixley Ethanol Plant, CA.
Photo by Tracy Perkins High-voltage cables carry power across the Valley.Some San Joaquin Valley residents worry that the Global Warming Solutions Act will replace old polluting power plants on the coast with new, less polluting power plants in the Valley – causing a decrease in pollution levels statewide but an increase in pollution locally.
Photo by Tracy Perkins Heavy air pollution creates beautiful sunsets in the Valley. Here the sun sinks behind the Coast Range, which smog makes almost invisible during the day. Stanislaus County, CA.
Photo by Orin Langelle Amador Hernández is a village of Tzeltal Mayan people in the heart of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, bordering the Lacandon Community. Home to about 1500 people, the villagers fear they may be displaced from their home due to renewed efforts to protect the rainforest under international carbon-trading agreements. The only way into and out of the village, twelve kilometers from the nearest road, is on horseback, by foot, or by light plane.
Photo by Orin Langelle Women in Amador Hernández maintain a close relationship with the natural world that surrounds them, and are diligently recuperating herbal traditions that were lost during the generations when their parents and grandparents were forced laborers on the plantations in the fertile lowlands of Chiapas.
Photo by Orin Langelle Concerned father holding his son in Amador Hernández. Earlier that day, the boy had had convulsions; by the next day, several others from the community had experienced the same thing. Since last year, residents of Amador Hernández have been denied medical supplies, and the Mexican government has suspended emergency transport of the gravely ill.
Photo by Orin Langelle For the villagers in Amador Hernández, their herbal preparations are the only medicines they have; it is one of many ways in which they rely on the jungle’s diversity to provide sustenance and fortify their culture.
Photo by Orin Langelle Woman in Amador Hernández carrying herbal preparations to the community clinic.
Photo by Orin Langelle Elders of the community. Some few are left who remember “el tiempo de lasfincas,” the time of the plantations, when the vast majority of the indigenous people of Chiapas worked as indentured servants on the haciendas of the wealthy.
Photo by Orin Langelle The Mexican army encamped next to Amador Hernández in 1999. The village, deep in Zapatista rebel territory, was a hotbed of resistance to the Mexican military’s attempts to crush the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
Photo by Orin Langelle Though they stand accused of destroying the rainforest, campesino culture is vastly less destructive than industrial culture.
Photo by Orin Langelle The Lacandon jungle from above. Many residents of Amador Hernández believe that the real reason for relocating them from their village is because transnational corporations want to gain control of the jungle’s biodiversity.
Photo by Orin Langelle African Palm Oil plantations bordering the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve. African Palm, for the food and biofuel industries, is one of the key elements of the Mexican government’s plan for “productive conversion of agriculture” in Chiapas.
Photo by Orin Langelle The Mayan archeological site of Bonampak serves as a reminder that the people of the Lacandon jungle have persisted for millennia. Over many centuries, the jungle not only survived, but thrived.