What you don’t know

Every year, Project Censored compiles the “Top 25 Censored Stories.” Among them were a number of environmental stories that flew under mainstream media’s radar:

“World Bank’s Carbon Trade Fiasco.” In an effort to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, cap and trade programs basically allow companies to either reduce their own emissions, or buy “carbon credits” from industries in other parts of the world that are reducing their emissions. Project Censored describes how a number of “emissions reduction” projects in the developing world are doing more harm than good. They’ve become a mechanism for “multinational corporations to accelerate their incursion on the rights of indigenous peoples and small-scale landholders in Latin America,” the report says. The World Bank brokers carbon emission trading arrangements through Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) investments. Lack of accountability to local communities and a tunnel vision goal of greenhouse gas reduction, are key flaws of the CDM, according to the report. One proposal involves a Japan pulp company growing a tree farm in Uruguay on land that has been used for sheep and cattle grazing since the 17th century, with no mention of the people who own, live on or make their living from this land. And some projects, even while reducing emissions, harm the local environment in other ways, such as diverting water from local streams. Meanwhile, the CDM is expanding, with an all-time high of 132 new projects submitted for approval in May.

“Ecuador’s Constitutional Rights of Nature.” Ecuador became the first country to declare constitutional rights to nature in September 2008. However, the law is full of loopholes that would allow mining and other development projects to continue in ecologically sensitive areas, even those including endangered species. Yet environmental lawyer Mario Melo said in the report that recognizing the rights to nature is progress on a global scale. The mainstream press, if they mentioned it at all, trivialized it. The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board said it sounded “like a stunt by the San Francisco City Council” and that it seemed “crazy.”

Other “censored” environmental stories include: “Toxic Waste Beyond Somali Pirates,” “Nuclear Waste Pools in North Carolina,” “Europe Blocks U.S. Toxic Imports,” “Activists Slam World Water Forum as a Corporate-Driven Fraud,” and “Fast Track Oil Exploration in Western Amazon.” Read all 25 at www.projectcensored.org. The RN&R generally publishes the Top 10 list, so keep an eye open later in the year.