-The most successful transnational corporations in the world are those that are maiming the planet and many of its people –and the rich countries that house those TNCs are the ones that are knowledgeably behind this crime. (E. Galeano)
-Every corporation claims to be environmentally minded until they have to pay for it.
The rights of nature: Is biodiversity a human right? (D+C, Vol.37, No.10, Oct 2010)
Nature does not need people; people need nature.
1. Combining human rights-based and ecological approaches provides a powerful framework of analysis and a basis for action to understand and guide development from here to 2030 –before it is too late. The human rights framework unfailingly draws attention to the common root causes of social and ecological injustice. Human rights principles and standards do guide development to more sustainable outcomes by recognizing the links between ecological and social marginalization, by stressing that all rights are embedded in complex ecological and biodiverse systems, and by emphasizing ‘provision-for-need’ over wealth accumulation. Together, human rights (HR) and ecology give us a clearer idea of what development is to achieve, i.e., securing the current and future generations a sustainable amount of ecological space that does not compromise the human and the ‘earth’s rights’ of the coming generations.* Since those needs have a natural basis, no one can take more than a sustainable share of natural resources without threatening others’ rights; and since these resources are linked through ecological processes globally, all natural resources should be seen as part of the commons. If one person or group takes more than their fair share of these common goods, HR globally are threatened. Human rights, therefore, demand that we protect these common resources. (Bret Thiele)
*: An economic system that violates the earth’s rights also violates HR, because we are inseparable from the Earth. (Vandana Shiva)
Climate change is not just about carbon pollution
2. Climate change is about a hotter world and about the collision between carbon pollution and a toxic ideology of market fundamentalism that has made it impossible for our shackled leaders** to respond to the dangers of a hotter world while they simultaneously make the problem so much worse. (Naomi Klein)
**: Manfred Max Neef, well known Chilean economist, considers himself the founder of a new discipline: ‘stupidology’. He argues that stupidity is a unique trait of human beings. No other living being is stupid except ourselves. So, is homo sapiens (or homo-not-very-sapiens, or homo demens) in need of an upgrade? Sort of… (Yuval Harari, Geoffrey Cannon, Leonardo Boff)
3. Furthermore, the climate change negotiations are no longer an environmental negotiation, they are now being turned into economic negotiations that want to establish, by international agreement, new technological paradigms and new competitive conditions in international trade. The proposals at hand are favorable to large multinationals, because they restrict the space for national development policies and, under the pretext of climate change, will control the market participation of countries, as well as the producer prices in international agricultural trade. (U. Mazzei)
4. It is no news*** that the effects of a hotter world will be shared very unevenly, with a number of northern countries, including Russia and much of Europe, benefiting from the rising temperatures and poorer countries, including those in much of South America and Africa (which already tend to be far hotter) being damaged by the rising temperatures. By 2100, the average income for the world’s poorest 60% of people will be 70% below what it would have been without climate change. Thus, climate change will result in a huge redistribution of wealth from the global poor to the wealthy. (Learn more and check out some charts at MIT Technology Review)
***: It is also no news that the old worn approach of compensating reductions of carbon emissions with money is not working and has become obsolete.
Saying no to bad ideas and bad actors is simply not enough
5. If we accept the premise that, from here on, the battles will all be mostly defensive, we will but be holding our ground against regressive attacks against HR. Then, we will end up in a very dangerous place indeed. We cannot spend the coming years only playing defense. The crises are all so urgent, they will not allow us that lost time. On the rights of nature, for instance, humanity has a finite window in which to act, after which protecting anything like a stable climate becomes impossible. And that window is closing fast. So we need, somehow, to fight defense and offence simultaneously –to resist the attacks of the present day and to still find space to build the future we need. In other words, the firmest of ‘nos’ has to be accompanied by a bold and forward-looking yes –a plan for the future that is credible and captivating enough that a great many people will fight to see it realized, no matter the shocks and scare tactics thrown their way. It is ‘yes’ that will keep us in the fight. So, we first need to be very clear on what we are saying no to. We are saying no to the system. And then let us move to a yes –a yes that will bring about change so fundamental that today’s corporate takeover will be relegated to a historical footnote –a warning to our kids. (N. Klein)
6. The climate conversation should cease to be a shouting match. Much too much is at stake. (United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres)
Claudio Schuftan, Ho Chi Minh City
– Reusing is better than recycling and not-using-in-the-first-place is best of all. (…neither is recycling always the green alternative it appears to be). (F+D 50:4, December 2013)
– When an animal product is purchased, three prices have to be paid: one by the consumer, one by the taxpayer and one by nature. The consumer uses the first price to judge the item’s value. The other two prices represent hidden subsidies to the people who produce and merchandise it. We need to be reminded that they are responsible for and preside over a system of price support of a type of industrial agriculture whose products, at current volumes, are harmful to population health and to the planet and the biosphere. (Heinrich Boell Foundation)