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The outrage over the bottling of California water by Nestlé, Walmart and other big corporations during a record drought has become viral on social media and national and international media websites over the past couple of months. On May 20, people from across the state converged on two Nestlé bottling plants — one in Sacramento and the other in Los Angeles — demanding that the Swiss-based Nestlé corporation halt its bottling operations during the state’s record drought.
At the protests, activists delivered 515,000 signatures from people in California and around the nation who signed onto a series of petitions to Nestlé executives, Governor Brown, the California State Water Resources Control Board and the U.S. Forest Service urging an immediate shutdown of Nestlé’s bottling operations across the state.
Led by the California-based Courage Campaign, the protest was the third in Sacramento over the past year. The first two protests were "shut downs" this March and last October organized by the Crunch Nestlé Alliance.
Read More |
Photo essay of protest against Nestlé in Sacramento
Previous Related Indybay Feature:
Activists 'Shut Down' Nestlé Water Bottling Plant
On May 24, the 35th anniversary of Food Not Bombs was marked with a six hour party in Santa Cruz. Those needing nourishment were greeted with live music and an especially celebratory atmosphere, in addition to free food, a free market, and a variety of other free services. By combining social and environmental justice activism, nonviolent direct action, and a philosophy that emphasizes sharing over charity, Food Not Bombs has differentiated itself from other global organizations that distribute food to the hungry.
On May 23, families and loved ones of people in solitary confinement, and advocates from community organizations, held the third Statewide Coordinated Actions To End Solitary Confinement (SCATESC) throughout California. In Santa Cruz, about 25 people rallied at the entrance to the Municipal Wharf, where locals and tourists found two large banners, storyboards exposing the realities of solitary confinement, signs, and educational literature about solitary confinement in Santa Cruz and California.
The first successful Santa Cruz County referendum in 13 years has suspended an ordinance adopted by the County Board of Supervisors to ban all commercial cannabis cultivation. The ban was adopted on April 14, and was to go into effect on May 15. Responsible Cultivation Santa Cruz circulated the referendum and after only 21 days filed 11,210 signatures with the county. 7,248 valid signatures are required to qualify the referendum for the ballot.
On May 2, Native American community members and Interfaith supporters, including clergy leaders, demonstrated outside of Mission Dolores in San Francisco to oppose the impending canonization of Junipero Serra by the Catholic church. Pope Francis has reaffirmed his decision to name Junipero Serra a saint, despite strong opposition from Native Americans who say the man is responsible for the killing of hundreds of thousands of Indigenous people when he helped to establish and then presided over the California mission system in the 1700s.
"My ancestors were directly enslaved at Mission Dolores here, and at Mission San Jose in Fremont, and I want to make sure that the Vatican knows that we, and Native people allies, do not agree with the canonization of Junipero Serra," said Corrina Gould, who is of Karkin and Chochenyo Ohlone ancestry. Individuals of Coastal Miwok and Chumash ancestry, two other Californian tribal groups gravely affected by the establishment of the mission system, also spoke at the demonstration. The event was part of an "International Day of Mourning" which was organized to coincide with the Catholic church's celebration to honor Juipero Serra in Rome and at the American seminary in Los Angeles on May 2.
"Today we stand together in solidarity to say: No sainthood for Junipero Serra. No sainthood for genocide. No sainthood for murderers and rapers. We are saying this in a loud and proud way," Corrina Gould said in her introductory remarks.
Read More with Photos | See Also: Petition: Urge Pope Francis to abandon his decision to canonize Junipero Serra
A coalition of environmentalists on April 20 blasted Beverly Hills billionaire Stewart Resnick and other corporate agribusiness interests for continuing to plant thousands of acres of new almond trees during the drought while Governor Jerry Brown is mandating that urban families slash water usage by 25 percent.
“While farmers make their own decisions on what to plant, the public is paying the price for poor decisions made by greedy mega-growers, who plant permanent crops where there is no water,” Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, told reporters in a news conference about the “tunnels only” version of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) that Governor Jerry Brown is now pushing. “That is not sustainable and the tunnels would subsidize unsustainable agriculture.”
Barrigan-Parrilla said Resnick, the owner of Paramount Farms in Kern County, uses as much water for his almonds as the amount of water 38 million Californians are now required to conserve. At this year’s annual pistachio conference hosted by Paramount Farms, Resnick revealed his current efforts to expand pistachio, almond, and walnut acreage during a record drought.
Stewart Resnick expands almond acreage as cities forced to slash water use
Governor Brown's drought order lets agribusiness, oil companies off the hook
Drought legislation must target agribusiness and Big Oil
Drought Shows Folly of Jerry Brown's Delta Tunnels
Will drought relief money be used to support overpumping Delta water?
House Passes Salmon-Killing Drought Relief Bill
Feinstein delays controversial drought legislation until next year
Feinstein's fish-killing drought bill being negotiated in secrecy
Meet the Resnicks, the Koch Brothers of California Water
Brown fails to discuss wholesale draining of reservoirs in drought statement
Brown declares drought state of emergency as protesters urge halt to fracking
Previous Related Indybay Features:
Activists 'Shut Down' Nestlé Water Bottling Plant
Steelhead Suffer From Emptying of Northern California Reservoirs
"Sucked Dry: Drought and Privatization" Art Show Shut Down by GMO Dean at UC Berkeley
3 Billion Gallons of Oil Industry Wastewater Illegally Dumped into Central Valley Aquifers
Reducing Beef Intake by One Pound Saves More Water Than Not Showering for Six Months
Suppliers of Driscoll’s, which may be the U.S.’s most recognizable brand name on strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and blackberry cartons, are coming under fire for allegedly abusing workers, in the U.S. and Mexico. One Driscoll’s grower has spent weeks embroiled in a major farmworker protest, while a nearly two-year boycott against another grower recently intensified. Workers in both disputes have called for a boycott against the company.
In response to a 2012 petition by the Center for Biological Diversity and several renowned scientists and herpetologists, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on April 9 that Endangered Species Act protection may be warranted for the western pond turtle. The agency will now conduct a one-year status review on the turtle, which faces declines of up to 99 percent in some areas.
Western pond turtles are declining in abundance rangewide, especially in the northernmost portion and the southern third of the range. The animals are listed as state endangered in Washington, sensitive/critical in Oregon, and a species of special concern in California. Although habitat destruction is one of the biggest threats to the turtle, none of these state laws provides effective habitat protection.
“Threats like habitat destruction from urbanization and agriculture are driving western pond turtles toward extinction,” said Collette Adkins, a Center biologist and lawyer. “Much-needed federal protection of these turtles would help ensure that rivers and wetlands across the West Coast are protected, both for the turtles and for people.”
Read More | Center for Biological Diversity | See Also: Western Pond Turtle More Critically Endangered Than Once Thought
| Endangered Species Act Protection Sought for 16 Rare Amphibians and Reptiles in California
A new report released by Californians for Pesticide Reform asserts that fumigant pesticides are an outdated, toxic technology that undermines soil health, and safe replacements are needed to grow food on the Central Coast of California. The report examines data that revealed cancer-causing chloropicrin is in the air where Monterey County children live and play, and shares monitoring results that confirm chloropicrin in the city of Watsonville’s air poses an increased cancer risk, despite state required “safer tarps” and "buffer zones".
Holding plastic “torches” and “pitchforks,” activists formed human barricades at both entrances to the Nestlé Waters bottling plant in Sacramento at 5:00 a.m. on March 20, effectively shutting down the company's operations for the day. Members of the “Crunch Nestlé Alliance" shouted out a number of chants, including ”We got to fight for our right to water,” “Nestlé, Stop It, Water Not For Profit," and “¿Agua Para Quien? Para Nuestra Gente.” The protesters stayed until about 1 pm, but there were no arrests.
The only oil company to sue San Benito County over a local ban on fracking and other high-intensity petroleum operations announced on April 6 it has dropped its lawsuit, leaving the voter-approved ordinance in place. Citadel Exploration’s decision to dismiss its own case means that local fracking bans in California face no remaining active legal challenges, despite threats from the oil industry.
A newly completed assessment has found that monarch butterflies in North America are vulnerable to extinction. The assessment was undertaken by NatureServe and the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and results were published in a report
released by the U.S. Forest Service on March 9.
NatureServe and the Xerces Society used NatureServe’s conservation status assessment methodology to determine the level of imperilment of the monarch. The methodology has been successfully applied to hundreds of species of animals. Using data on population abundance, trends, and threats, the team of scientists determined that while the monarch butterfly species as a whole, Danaus plexippus, is apparently secure, the subspecies occurring in North America, Danaus plexippus plexippus, is vulnerable to extinction. Under the assessment, the North American monarchs were split into an eastern population that migrates from as far north as southern Canada to central Mexico each fall, and a smaller western population that largely migrates to coastal California to spend the winter. The eastern monarch population was assessed as “critically imperiled” due to recent rapid decline and widespread threats. The western population, with a slightly slower rate of decline and less widespread threats, was categorized as “vulnerable to imperiled.”
“Our findings show that even a widespread and common insect can face dramatic population declines in an alarmingly short period of time,” said Bruce Young, NatureServe’s Director of Species Science. “The time is now to intensify continent-wide efforts to reduce the threats to this iconic species and prevent it from succumbing to the fate that has befallen far too many other species.”
Read More | The Xerces Society | NatureServe
Previous Coverage: Monarch Butterfly Moves Toward Endangered Species Act Protection
Autonomous Students UCSC write:
Before dawn on March 3, a group of six students at the University of California Santa Cruz went to the fishhook connecting Highways 1 to 17. Evoking the practice of highway blockades popularized during the Black Lives Matter movement, they chained themselves to aluminum trashcans filled with cement and blocked traffic for nearly five hours. The traffic jam this caused stretched over the hill to snarl Silicon Valley commutes, an act of peaceful civil disobedience that has since become the most controversial of the “96 Hours of Action” declared across the UC system for the first week of March, in protest against tuition hikes and police violence.
On March 24, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 before an overflowing room to ban the cultivation of cannabis in all unincorporated territories of the county, with limited exceptions. Personal grows of 10×10 square feet are still permitted, with restrictions. Outdoor cultivation is entirely banned in the 2nd District, represented by Zach Friend, and includes the communities of Aptos, Corralitos, Freedom, and portions of Watsonville.
On March 23, coordinated actions were held statewide in California to oppose the use of solitary confinement in prisons and jails. Protests were planned for Eureka, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose. In Santa Cruz, community members gathered on West Cliff Drive for a rally and candlelight vigil. Organizers say future actions will continue to be held statewide on the 23rd of each month to symbolize the 23 hours per day prisoners in solitary are held in the "complete isolation" of their cells.
On March 12, the Pit River Tribe and their Native American and environmental allies optimistically left the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco following oral arguments in their long legal battle to protect the Medicine Lake Highlands from geothermal destruction and desecration. The Pit River people, the lead defendants in the case, are fighting in court to defend the Highlands, known to them as “Saht Tit Lah," an area that has been used for healing, religious ceremonies and tribal gatherings for thousands of years.
On February 8, the University of California Student Association, the independent official voice of 240,000 UC students, passed two advisory resolutions: Resolution Calling for the UC Regents to Divest from Corporations Violating Palestinian Human Rights and Resolution Toward Socially Responsible Investment at the University of California by an 9-1 vote, with 5 abstentions.
Flowback fluid from fracked oil wells in California commonly contains dangerous levels of cancer-causing chemicals, a new analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity has found. Flowback fluid is a key component of oil-industry wastewater from fracked wells, which is commonly disposed of in injection wells, which often feed into aquifers, including some that could be used for drinking water and irrigation. Oil wastewater is also dumped into open pits.
Benzene levels over 1,500 times the federal limits for drinking water were found in fracking flowback fluid tests dating back to April 2014 obtained and analyzed by the Center. Benzene in excess of federal limits was found in 320 tests, and chromium-6 was detected 118 times. Both chemicals can cause cancer. “Cancer-causing chemicals are surfacing in fracking flowback fluid just as we learn that the California oil industry is disposing of wastewater in hundreds of illegal disposal wells and open pits,” said Hollin Kretzmann, the Center lawyer who conducted the analysis. “Gov. Brown needs to shut down all the illegal wells immediately and ban fracking to fight this devastating threat to California’s water supply.”
Hundreds of injection wells were recently revealed to be illegally dumping oil industry wastewater into scores of California aquifers, including some that supply water for drinking and farming irrigation. Recently revealed documents from the EPA and the state’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources show that state and federal regulators have investigated at least 532 oil industry injection wells across the state — from Monterey County and sites near San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara to Kern and Los Angeles counties — over concerns they are illegally dumping wastewater into scores of aquifers containing water that should be protected under state and federal laws.
Read More | Center for Biological Diversity | See Also: EPA Urged to Shut Down Oil Industry Wastewater Wells Threatening California Aquifers
| Anti-fracking coalition calls for shut down of toxic injection wells
| Sierra Club Condemns State Injection Well Practices, Calls for Investigation
| Oilfield Surfactants Market to Increase to Over $1 Billion by 2020 due to Fracking
Previous Coverage: 3 Billion Gallons of Oil Industry Wastewater Illegally Dumped into Central Valley Aquifers
Santa Cruz County is drafting new regulations for medicinal cannabis patients and providers. These new rules have the potential to turn large numbers of patients and providers into criminals and drastically roll back decades of progress won by cannabis activists. In letters to the Board of Supervisors, medicinal cannabis patients and cultivators are expressing their desire for "more effective, more sensible, and more just solutions" regarding a policy on medicinal cannabis cultivation and distribution.
In Oakland, hundreds of people from more than two dozen groupings organized in response to the Anti Police-Terror Project’s call to come together for ninety-six hours of direct action over the Martin Luther King Day weekend, from January 16 through 19. They joined thousands of others across the country responding to a call from Ferguson Action to reclaim Dr. King’s legacy of militant direct action in opposition to economic violence as well as police violence and discrimination. The first action announced was a protest inside Montgomery BART station in San Francisco at 7am on Friday. The weekend’s events culminated in a Jobs and Economy March for the People on Monday, January 19, beginning at 11am at Oscar Grant/Fruitvale BART station in Oakland.
The ninety-six hours of direct action across the Bay Area highlighted the unjust economic and political structures that King fought to defeat. Thousands unified, regardless of skin color, religion, or creed to reclaim King’s legacy and act, in tandem, against police and economic violence, two primary tools of white supremacy. Actions took place throughout the Bay Area, at BART stations, community meetings and street corners and came in the form of shut downs, guerrilla theater, teach-ins, and concerts. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, activists in Oakland staged a pre-dawn home demo at the house of new mayor Libby Schaaf before protesters held a large march through the neighborhoods where systematic and state sanctioned murder of Black, Brown, and Poor people occur most.
Read More |
Massive March & Concert Planned For MLK Holiday to Culminate 96 hours of Bay Area Direct Action to “Reclaim King’s Legacy” |
Community Demands |
Bus stop ad modified in Oakland: 96 hours of direct action MLK weekend
Other groups are organizing marches, teach-ins, movie screenings, environmental actions, and more MLK-related events in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, and throughout Northern California.
Third World for Black Power Lockdown at Federal Building in Oakland
Black Lives Matter Demands Read at Mayor Libby Schaaf’s Office
Anti-Gentrification Action Disrupts Oakland Home Auction
March For Black Community Control Of The Police!
Holiday Appeal for Class-War Prisoners
#MLKSHUTITDOWN: Walmart Action Connects Economic Oppression with Police Terror
Shut It Down: WAL-MART Edition
Fuck the Police March
From Oscar Grant to Ferguson: Racism and Police Repression in America
Black Lives Matter Activists Brings the Noise to Home of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf
Thousands Unite and March in East Oakland to Reclaim King's Legacy
Justice Now-MLK Oakland Rally/Workers & Community Demand Justice And An End To Privatization
Hard Knock Radio: Martin Luther King Jr. Day audio and interviews
“Reclaim King’s Legacy” Oakland March
Lawyers and Public Defenders for #blacklivesmatter
BART Friday Shuts Down SF Stations, Disrupts Morning Commute
interview with BARTfriday Montgomery Street station
First arrest at BARTfriday Montgomery Street station San Francisco
Photos and video from #BARTFriday: NO BUSINESS AS USUAL
#BARTFriday: NO BUSINESS AS USUAL #BlackLivesMatter Reclaiming King's Legacy
Forum/Foro: The Real Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Queers" Protest in the Castro #Blacklivesmatter
Sleepout in San Francisco Draws Demonstrators on the Eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Rebellion and Resistance from Ferguson to Ayotzinapa
Reading the Roots of MLK's Social Justice
Stanford Students Shut Down San Mateo Bridge on MLK Day, 68 Arrested
MLK Birthday Commemoration: Film Screening
MLK Day in Fresno
Black Lives Matter Film Series: "War Witch"
Protest Berkeley Police Violence at Special City Council Meeting
Free Movie: Do the Right Thing
Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service - Richmond Greenway
Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service - Point Pinole
4 Mile March
Al Helm: Martin Luther King in Palestine
On January 14, California's Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced new “recommended restrictions” on the use of chloropicrin, a cancer-causing pesticide used widely on California strawberries
. Health, environmental and rural advocates say that DPR ignored its own scientists in developing the proposal, and that the recommended restrictions fall far short of protecting schoolchildren and rural residents from harmful exposures to the toxic pesticide.
Since 1999, more than 1,400 people — including farmworkers and other rural residents — have reported symptoms from chloropicrin exposure as it drifts from neighboring fields, sometimes several days after an application. Exposure can lead to eye irritation and severe respiratory damage, in addition to an increased risk of cancer. Chloropicrin, an agricultural pesticide of public health concern to communities across the state, is heavily used in close proximity to schools.
“More pounds of chloropicrin are applied near Pajaro Valley schools than any other highly hazardous pesticide. The effects of chloropicrin on children’s health is a top concern of parents and teachers in the Monterey Bay area,” said Francisco Rodriguez, Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers President and special education teacher.
Read More | Californians for Pesticide Reform | Dark Side of the Strawberry
See Also: Chloropicrin Sickens Residents of Lamont, California
(Oct. 3 and 4, 2003) | Groundbreaking Report Finds High Rates of Pesticide Use Near Monterey County Schools