<![CDATA[Christine Ottery · Storify]]>https://storify.com/christineotteryNodeJS RSS ModuleWed, 24 May 2017 09:41:13 GMT<![CDATA[Ecocide mock trial]]>

Could a new international law be the solution to preventing environmental damage by corporations or governments? Polly Higgins proposes 'Ecocide' as a crime to be tried in the International Criminal Court. How would this work? A mock trial is taking place at the Supreme Court in London to find out. Prosecuting barrister: Michael Mansfield QC, defence barrister: Christopher Parker QC

Storified by Christine Ottery · Thu, Oct 27 2011 06:18:29

Here are some links for press reactions at The Independent Deutsche-Welle and the FT.
Here are a couple more Audioboos: a reaction to the result from Polly Higgins, and Michael Mansfield QC explains of how the mock trial was different to a real ecocide trial if it becomes enshrined in law.


ECOCIDE TRIAL-149 · Hamilton Group
Above - the legal teams and actor 'defendants' with Polly Higgins.

ECOCIDE TRIAL-181 · Hamilton Group

Press conference:

Q: @carboncoach asks how repeatable is this verdict?


A: Foreman of the jury. Tar sands verdict was reached quickly. We thought the evidence was incontrovertible that CEOs were allowing toxic water to stand and it was ecocide.


On the oil spill deliberations it was not so clear. 


Another juror: Strict culpability is troublesome.


Mansfield: Strict liability. The other peace crimes don't already have it. But for Ecocide to work, you need to be able to use strict liability. 'Reasonably forseeable' wouldn't work. The Spanish waiter defence. Eg Mr Murdoch.





From l-r: Polly Higgins, Simon Hamilton, Michael Mansfield, Simon Boxhall, Robin Perry, Peter Robinson

In post-mock-trial press conference now.


Q: Journalist from Le Monde asks: When will it become a reality? How?


Polly: It can be done fast. It requires an amendment to the Rome Statute. Only need 2/3, 86 members of the statute, to vote this in.


Rio Earth Summit next year is the key opportunity to get Ecocide law.


People play a role in pressuring their governments, she says.



#tarsands crimes found guilty in historic #ecocidetrial Could real ecocide law prevent more environment destruction? http://yfrog.com/nzpvksbj · thisisecocide
Update: On the two tar sands cases the charge of Guilty was delivered. On the oil spill case the verdict of Not Guilty was delivered.

Has mock justice been done (on the basis of the evidence and arguments been aired here today)?
Count 1: Mr Bannerman. Verdict: not guilty. Nos 3 convicted, 9 aquitted.

Count 2: Mr Bannerman. Verdict: Guilty. Unanimous.

Count 3: Mr Tench. Verdict: Guilty. Unanimous
Jury coming back in the room. Air tense as a tightrope.
Impressions from some people attending the Ecocide mock trial below:
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<![CDATA[Tar sands pipeline protests explainer]]>

Why are a bunch of activists willing to get themselves arrested outside the White House? What's so bad about tar sands? Follow the #nokxl tag on Twitter for the latest

Storified by Christine Ottery · Thu, Nov 24 2011 09:39:45

Canadian tar sands · Joe the Pleb

Let's start at the beginning. The tar sands in Athabasca are bitumen-rich sands in Alberta, Canada. They are among the dirtiest ways to extract fuel from the earth, and they destroy the landscape because the extraction process is similar to open-cast mining. 


Lawyer Polly Higgins is campaigning to make the tar sands an international crime under a new law of 'Ecocide', and Naomi Klein compares the sight of the excavation of the landscape in Alberta to "terrestrial skinning" - an act she calls mass insanity. See KleinWoolf's TED talk below.

Naomi Klein: Addicted to risk · TEDtalksDirector

As Klein Woolf points out above, the US is the number one importer of oil from Canada's tar sands. You can hear the audience gasp, it is so little known. You can see a neat infographic illustrating the US' oil imports by region below.

Here are some images of the tar sands:

Tar Pit #3 · SRmanitou

Ugly: aesthetically and morally.

Tar sands before & after, Alberta Canada http://t.co/wTaWFM1 · adampsharp

Before and after pictures show you just what pristine Boreal forest landscapes have been bulldozed to gain access to the tar.

Athabasca Oil Sands : Image of the Day · eoimages.gsfc.nasa.gov

An image of the Athabasca tar sands by NASA - taken on 29 July 2009. Check out the size of the tailing pond, which can be seen by the naked eye from space - ponds of water mixed with toxic by-products of the extraction process. Greenpeace have something to say about that.


Below we can find out more about the processes that turn tar sand gunk into crude oil:


Infographic: A Closer Look at Tar Sands Oil | Circle of Blue WaterNews · circleofblue.org

This is a useful infographic (above) showing the process of removing bitumen from the soil to end up with crude oil. For every barrel of crude oil that is made from the tar sands, it takes:


- 185 gallons of water
- 2 tonnes of soil
- 700- 1,200 cubic ft of natural gas
- and creates: 170 pounds of greenhouse gases.

This is pretty simplified, and to get more detail on the pollution and emissions of the tar sands see this explainer from Skeptical Science, below: 

A highlight of the above post is:


"According to a recent US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assessment, tar sands well-to-tank emissions are approximately 82% higher than conventional oil."

It also describes how the Keystone XL pipeline could contribute over 1 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere according to the EPA.

Below you can see a map of the proposed 1,600-mile long Keystone XL pipeline, which will - if it goes ahead - go through some of the US' prime farmland. There are concerns over pipe leaks, especially following several leaks of the initial Keystone pipeline, which is only a year old.

Keystone XL pipeline Map · Joe the Pleb

All of the concern over the environmental impacts of the pipeline have led to a protests on the lawn of the White House, and a national debate about whether Keystone XL is good for the US.


Below is the invitation to engage in civil disobedience from the Tar Sands Action campaign.  

Environmentalist and author Bill McKibben has helped to organise the protests.
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<![CDATA[London Riots in Bethnal Green]]>

The violence comes to Bethnal Green. Newest tweets first

Storified by Christine Ottery · Thu, Oct 27 2011 07:33:42

Can anyone verify?
Rioting heading towards the City?
RT @jaimelondonboy: Absolute chaos in Bethnal Green. Look at this: http://yfrog.com/ki2egikj #LondonRiots · weeddude

The tube closure is good news - I saw kids with hoods up and scarves across faces come out of the tube before it was closed. Suited man looked scared.

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<![CDATA[Slutwalk London]]>

Some reflections on Slutwalk London 11/06/2011 and the controversy surrounding reclaiming the word 'slut'. I made an audio recording for @poddelusion while I was there.

Storified by Christine Ottery · Thu, Oct 27 2011 08:17:52

I found this comment piece (below) on reclaiming the word 'slut' really interesting. It's written by two teachers that go around schools educating young women about how to reach a comfortable idea of their own sexualities. They think that the word slut is "damaging" to teen girls and "so deeply rooted" in the patriarchal "madonna/whore" view of sexuality that it is beyond redemption."


Dines and Murphy think we can focus our feminist energies better to create a positive female-originated view of women's sexuality. Women's sexualities are as varied and complex. But no more complex than men's


This would be great, except for there is little movement towards this happening. Also, rejecting the word 'slut' seems to me to be reacting to the constructs of patriarchy that mean 'slut' is taken as an insult. That's giving our power away. Isn't it better to be proactive and take the sting out of the word, take the power of the word has in society, for ourselves? 


I feel that the feminist movement has suffered from in-fighting, po-faced, black-or-white views (on prostitution, for example), and a stuffy kind of academic debate over semantics that has been going on too long. 


I like the concept of Slutwalk for its unique combination of the absolutely serious and earnest, coupled with humour. Let's not underestimate humour as a campaigning tool (Read: Small Acts of Resistance by Steve Crawshaw and John Jackson).

If you want to hear some of the protesters' reasons for attending Slutwalk London, you can hear them in my contribution to @PodDelusion podcast (around 11.25 mins in).

See the placard slogans from Slutwalk London below.

Slutwalks have energised feminists in this country as no other niche movement has in recent years. Or even decades. 

For that reason, and its inclusivity, and the way it challenges women to band together and not to judge each other, I think that Slutwalks are a powerful idea.

The energy behind the marches is more important than haggling over the meaning of 'slut', and whether we want to reclaim it. Why not take the momentum that is forming and direct it? 

That's why I agree with the comment piece below by Asiya Islam, which also brings up very interesting considerations on the racial and cultural implications of how accessible the Slutwalk movement is.

If we are teaching young girls about sexuality, I think it should be to tell them that their sexuality is much more powerful than they realise. Perhaps they'd feel less pressured and "damaged" - regardless of an over-sexualised culture - if they were taught to ask: "what do I want and how am I going to get it?" 


I think that is what Penny Red was talking about when she was giving her speech at the Slutwalk London Rally:

#slutwalk Trafalgar square http://twitpic.com/5a2b8z · smileandsubvert

Define your sexuality and sexual power in your own way? Don't play by the patriarchal rules? Pretty much any woman who does this is at risk of being called a slut. 


Maybe we can re-frame 'slut' as 'sexual adventurer'? I have always believed that if men can do it, so can women. That's just the kind of feminist I am. 


Frankly, any woman that has ever been called a 'slut' or who has called another woman a 'slut' can identify with the resonance of the word. It pulls our strings. Even if this was a bad thing at the time, it can transform into a good thing if it helps us channel our energy in a positive way to stand together to oppose violence against women.


Chloe Angyal discusses the way we can neutralise the destructive power of the world 'slut' in the Christian Science Monitor.

It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was in the park with my friend Kate, who was telling me all about the party she had gone to the night before. I hadn’t been invited, and I wanted to be caught up on all the new gossip about our classmates and friends. “You should have seen how Bridget was dancing with this guy,” Kate told me, her face screwed up in judgment. “His hands were all over her butt.” “What a slut!” I said. We were 13.

I can relate to this. Personally, I have found that women are harsher critics of other women than men are.


But even worse than the unsisterliness and bitchiness of undermining other women, Angyal writes, is the false sense of superiority and security that calling a women 'slut' can give. "Good girls" can get raped too.

When women hurl that word at other women, we aren’t just buying into the lie that some of us deserve violence more than others. We’re also lying to ourselves about our own safety. We’re pretending that rape could never happen to us – that it’s something that happens to other women, women who bring it on themselves. And by endorsing that myth, we make it easier for men like that Toronto police officer to pick and choose who sees justice and who doesn’t.

It's time for women to be wiser, and kinder to each other.

At the Slutwalk I heard a lot about how emphasis should move from the victim of rape to the perpetrator. This is true. But I also think that we all need to continue to push through a cultural shift away from blame culture further - and towards a more compassionate way of relating to each other. 

I was impressed by campaigner Tamsin Omond's heartfelt blog post reacting to Slutwalk. She said:


Slutwalk has changed the way I view women alone late at night. I am no longer the sensible one safe from unwanted attention and they’ve stopped seeming foolish strangers. Now they are my sisters and I will stand by them.

How would things be different in society if all woman stood up together? The sensible ones and the short-skirted ones, the "good girls" and the sexually liberated ones?


Maybe it's time we all embraced out inner Madonna and inner whore, and, well, make friends with them? In the maze that is human sexuality, there may be a bit of the chaste and a bit of the lascivious lurking in there in all of us, among the full spectrum of sexual desire.


We could celebrate chastity; it has its pleasures. But celebrating our 'slutishness' is closer to celebrating our enjoyment of sex.


I love what Alice Walker had to say about it:

Alice Walker: I’ve always understood the word “slut” to mean a woman who freely enjoys her own sexuality in any way she wants to; undisturbed by other people’s wishes for her behavior. Sexual desire originates in her and is directed by her. In that sense it is a word well worth retaining. As a poet, I find it has a rich, raunchy, elemental, down to earth sound, that connects us to something primal, moist, and free. The spontaneous movement that has grown around reclaiming this word speaks to wom

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