Subhankar Banerjee on how corporate resource wars and global warming are decimating native peoples and forests worldwide
Subhankar Banerjee is an Indian-born American photographer, writer and activist. Over the past decade he has been a leading international voice on issues of arctic conservation, indigenous human rights and global warming, and over the past five years he has also been focusing on forest deaths from global warming. His photographs and writing have reached tens of millions of people around the world through exhibitions, publications and public lectures. His new book is called Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point. At the start of this interview, Dr. Caldicott refers to a September 2012 report of a massacre of members of the Yanomami Indian Tribe of the Amazon. A week after this program was recorded, the report was found to be false, yet the general situation of native peoples being displaced or killed when they stand in the way of resource extraction is an increasingly widespread scenario. Read the September 11 article, Campaign group retracts Yanomami ‘massacre’ claims. Among the topics discussed in this conversation are Dr. Caldicott’s trip down the Amazon river where she witnessed tribes uncorrupted by western civilization, Banerjee’s work with indigenous communities in the Arctic, how the mining industry and other corporations are harming native peoples globally and these crimes will increase to maintain an affluent western standard of living, the tremendous expansion of Earth-destroying mining for coal, uranium, and irone in Australia, and catastrophic forest fires and droughts induced by global warming. Read the September 2012 article Australian ‘mega mine’ plan threatens global emissions target: ‘Unprecedented’ increase in the scale of Australian mining would nullify an internationally agreed goal, Greenpeace warns. Dr. Caldicott mentions her book If You Love This Planet (revised and updated in 2009). Dr. Caldicott mentions Banerjee’s writings on the Arctic such as Ignoring Protest and Warnings, Obama Ushers in Era of Unprecedented Arctic Drilling, Shell Game in the Arctic and Resource Wars Connect Yanomami Massacre and Shell’s Arctic Drilling. Dr. Caldicott points to how oil drilling in the Arctic will cause even more global warming. Banerjee mentions his important 2010 article Why We Can’t Have Another One Hundred Years of Fossil-Digging in North America which covers five projects that he says would completely destroy the earth. Relevant to this interview is the January 2013 article ‘Smoking Gun’: Tar Sands Report Eviscerates Industry Claims. Dr. Caldicott and Banerjee also discuss why Obama capitulates to polluting industries on nearly every environmental front, including his support for the Keystone XL pipeline. Related to this point is Obama’s role as warmaker. Read Glenn Greenwald’s article The ‘War on Terror’ - by Design - Can Never End. Banerjee discusses the fall 2012 Smithsonian conference, The Anthropocene: Planet Earth in the Age of Humans about the unprecedented destruction our species is now causing on the planet. He also mentions Prof. Richard Muller of UC Berkeley. Read The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic. Also referenced is Michael Klare’s book The Race for What’s Left. Listen to Dr. Caldicott’s interview of Klare. Dr. Caldicott remarks on her attendance at a 2012 conference in Freiburg, Germany where she heard about the potential global temperature increases that may occur this century, and the implications for human life. Banerjee discusses Obama’s involvement in Arctic Ocean drilling. Read the July 2012 article Obama Is Fast-tracking an Environmental Disaster to Please Big Oil. Banerjee announces that he and global-warming expert James Hansen will give a presentation in February 2013 in Santa Fe. Later in the program, Dr. Caldicott and Banerjee discuss the role of the media in distracting the public from the environmental crisis, the need for a “citizens revolt”, and the “complete corporate takeover of democracy.” Dr. Caldicott talks about her interview with Helena Norberg-Hodge. Banerjee points to the inspiration of activist Tim DeChristopher and the need for nonviolent creative action. Listen to Dr. Caldicott’s 2011 interview of Banerjee.
For more information on the work of Banerjee, check out climatestorytellers.org and subhankarbanerjee.org.