Salween Peace Park – A place for all living things

Situated in the crucial Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot, the ancestral land of the Karen people of Myanmar is threatened by mining, mega-dams, logging and myriad other infrastructural development projects. In this fourth case study in the on-going solidarity series between REDWEb and the global “Yes to Life, No to Mining” (YLNM) network, the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN) takes us to the “Salween Peace Park” where a successful initiative is charting a path away from destructive development.

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Coronavirus and the life lessons from “ordinary” people to save the Earth and ourselves

As the world grapples with the challenges posed by Covid-19, it needs to decipher the messages encoded in the disease. Can we continue on the path of environmental destruction, which scientists predict may make pandemics more likely? How do we create alternatives to the industrial forms of natural resource use which have disrupted natural systems irreversibly? How do we break from the artificially created integration of production, consumption and trade under globalization? Ashish Kothari helps us solve the critical societal puzzle that Coronavirus has confronted us with in these mystifying times.

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Regenerating the Commons in Galiza, Spain

Continuing with our solidarity series with the “Yes to Life, No to Mining” network against the scourge of extractivism, this time we take a trip to Galiza in northern Spain. In this remarkably vivid and inspiring account, Joám Evans Pim, a community leader from Frojám Community Conserved Area and activist in Galician anti-mining network ContraMINAcción, explains how small communities like his are confronting destructive mining by regenerating traditional territories and reviving community governance.

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Rethinking “Social Transformation”: Understanding the Communitarian Revolutionary Actor

As the need to counter the neoliberal assault on the planet is felt around the world, the idea of social transformation is undergoing fresh scrutiny to make it relevant to contemporary challenges. David Barkin and Alejandra Sanchez explore the unfolding socio-political experiments taking place in Latin America to give us an insight into the “Communitarian Revolutionary Actor” ushering in change on the continent.

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REDWeb Conversations Series – Cultivating autonomy in Rojava

Rojava is a significant experiment in grass-roots democracy in a region mired in desperate political conflict. The socio-political and economic achievements made over the last few years in Rojava form an aspirational inflection point in the history of the Kurdish people as well as that of West Asia. Ashish Kothari speaks with Yasin Duman on how the Autonomous Administration in Rojava became an agent of change while establishing stability in northern Syria.

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Thinking Outside the Grid

As the enormity of the contemporary environmental and climate crises dawns on the larger society, the power elite has not shied away from offering grand even if brazenly dubious answers to these challenges – Green Growth, Clean Coal, Genetically Engineered Biofuels and myriad other mirages. Steven Gorelick lifts the lid on the pseudo solutions to our severe energy issues and points us in the direction of systemic change based on local solutions to the complex undertakings of energy production and distribution.

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Landscapes of Renewal – Jukajoki, Linnunsuo and the Finnish Boreal

Finland has been affected by mass extractivism since the end of the Second World War. Peatlands, marsh-mires and old-growth forest across the country have been converted into mines and forest plantations, with huge impacts on rural communities practicing hunting, fishing, berry-gathering and small-scale farming. Over the past decade, the Finnish community of Selkie has successfully revived lands and waters damaged by extractive industries, using a blend of traditional knowledge and science. Tero Mustonen, Head of the Village of Selkie, explains how they stopped a mine and brought life back to Selkie’s rivers and marsh-mires. This is the first case study in the on-going collaborative series between REDWeb and the global “Yes to Life, No to Mining” (YLNM) solidarity network exploring emblematic examples of community resistance to extractivism and the life-sustaining alternatives they are defending and innovating.

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Resist. Restore. Revive: The frontline communities sowing the seeds of post-extractivism

The metal and mineral mining industry, worldwide is responsible for over 20% of global carbon emissions. It has also destroyed critical ecological areas and has a frightful record of systematic human rights violations. Yes to Life, No to Mining Network (YLNM) is a network of and for communities who choose to resist mining while at the same time protecting and advancing life-sustaining knowledges, practices, economies and governance systems. Recently, YLNM undertook an exploration of a few of these community initiatives to create a series of interactive case studies, which share the stories of resistance to mining, restoration of damaged ecosystems and protection and development of alternatives to extractivism. REDWeb is collaborating with YLNM to bring five of these “emblematic case studies” to its readers over the course of the next five months. In an introductory article, Hannibal Rhoades from YLNM gives us an idea of the areas and issues this series will cover, and how it explores the evolving idea of the “search for alternatives”.

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Resistance Is Fertile – The Emerging Alternative Political Discourse in the Indian Parliamentary Elections

India is in the midst of a massive election campaign for the constitution of its 17th parliament since independence in 1947. While the electoral priorities of the mainstream parties are characterized by a false narrative of “development”, a rapidly growing civil society initiative is exploring an alternative political discourse which is underlined by socio-economic equality and ecological sustainability. Shrishtee Bajpai describes the intellectual and operative underpinnings of this initiative.

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RED Conversations Series –Indigenous struggle for Autonomy and Territorial Rights in Bolivia

Continuing with the conversations recorded by Ashish Kothari at the ACKnowl-EJ conference at Bir, Himachal Pradesh, India, the second interview features Mirna Inturias and Iokine Rodriguez, two activist researchers working with the Monkox indigenous community of Lomerio, in the lowlands of eastern Bolivia. The ACKnowl-EJ (www.acknowlej.org) project is an academic-activist led effort aiming to chart a path towards sustainable and equitable futures, away from extractivist pressures.

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RED Conversations Series – A Unique Initiative In Central India

ACKnowl-EJ (www.acknowlej.org) is a network of scholars and activists engaged in action and collaborative research that aims to analyze the transformative potential of community responses to extractivism and alternatives born from resistance. The project aims to co-produce knowledge that can empower communities to push for change and geared towards the needs of social groups, advocates and social movements. It is doing this through partners in several countries, who are conducting in-depth case studies, contributing to the Environmental Justice Atlas (www.ejatlas.org), and producing collaborative reports and theoretical pieces based on this work. Its co-ordinators are the Environmental Science and Technology Institute at Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain), and Kalpavriksh (Pune, India).

The ACKnowl-EJ partners met recently at Deer Park, Bir, Himachal Pradesh (India), to review the work done so far, and plan the final phase of the project (due to end in April 2019). In this first interview for REDWeb Ashish Kothari interviews Govind Hodi, Kumari Tai Jamkata, Izam Sai Katengey and Shubhada Deshmukh from Korchi, Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, India. They are a group of activists involved with a unique initiative called the “Maha Gramsabha”, or the “Federation Of Village Assemblies”.

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REDWeb Conversations Series – Ending the Growth Addiction

The economic policy of endless growth on a finite planet can only lead to environmental stresses for millions of people. It’s imperative that we explore new possibilities, which are ecologically sensible and economically egalitarian. Pallav Das discusses the emerging idea of “Post Growth” with Alnoor Ladha and Jason Hickel, two activist academics exploring the cutting edge of ecological economics and politics.

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REDWeb Anniversary Series -Marx and Political Ecology

The steadily evolving field of Political Ecology is helping us figure out the impact of social, political and economic factors on our environment. Omar Dahbour delves into Marxian theory to explain how people’s equity in the ownership and management of natural resources, and of sustainability in the maintenance and health of the ecosystems could become the essential core of contemporary Political Ecology, and in the process help address the climate and environmental challenges facing the world. This article is part of the Radical Ecological Democracy website’s efforts towards offering a critical analysis of Karl Marx’s ideas in the context of the emerging alternative thinking and practice on environmental justice and socio-economic equality, as we continue to observe his 200th birth anniversary year.

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Engaging Communities in Resource Monitoring: The Political Ecology of Science as the Language of Power

How does the dominant politics of knowledge and power work in the context of conservation? Are certain forms of knowledge such as modern science privileged over indigenous knowhow? Kartik Shanker and Meera Anna Oommen discuss how their organization, Dakshin Foundation has forged an effective model of conservation by integrating local languages and traditions into its work in Lakshadweep, an island off the south-western coast of India.

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Ecofeminism as Politics: nature, Marx and the postmodern (2nd edition) by Ariel Salleh.

“Ecofeminism as Politics: nature, Marx and the postmodern”, by Ariel Salleh is a seminal work, which helped redirect the often floundering debate on international environmental crises in the 1990s towards the “eurocentric capitalist patriarchal culture built on the domination of Nature, and domination of Woman ‘as nature.’ In the last twenty years, Salleh’s book has challenged us to decipher the essential link between green politics, eco-socialism, post-colonial theory and eco-feminism as we try to design meaningful alternatives to the current neoliberal dispensation. David Pellow helps us grasp Ariel Salleh’s incisive logic in this review of the second edition of her book.

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RED Conversations Series – The Emerging Idea of “Radical Well-Being”

Paul Robbins talks with Ashish Kothari about the idea of “Radical Well-Being” and the road towards realizing it. This conversation is based on a presentation made by Ashish at the 2nd Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN) held in Oslo, June 2018.

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Reflections on the Founding of the First Ecosocialist International

The search for transformative alternatives to the current miasma of neoliberalism is very much on. Ecosocialism is one such idea finding resonance in many parts of the world. Quincy Saul recounts the thinking and the efforts behind the founding of the First Ecosocialist International.

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Mapping Grassroots Solutions: Lessons learned from the Utah Resilience Map Project

As grassroots solutions to the current neoliberal orthodoxy emerge all around us, it is important to figure out a way to make them physically accessible for people. Emily Nicolosi writes about the Utah Resilience Map, a path breaking effort putting alternatives emerging in and around Salt Lake City on a map. It’s a bold initiative which challenges the stranglehold of corporate online mapping and an emerging template for replication at other places.

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Lessons from the Kickapoo: Radical Conviviality in Community Conservation

The Kickapoo River valley in Wisconsin, USA was condemned to reckless “development” in the 1970s as a mega-dam flood control project got underway. But that move was met with resistance from the Ho-Chunk people who consider the area their sacred homeland. Paul Robbins and Marcy West recount the powerful story of a community led and focused ecological revival of the Kickapoo valley, underscoring the triumph of negotiations and collaboration over mistrust and fear.

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