Radical Ecological Democracy

Searching for alternatives to unsustainable and inequitable model of ‘development’

Conservation

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Traditional Governance Systems of the Van Gujjars in Uttarakhand (India)

The lives of the Van Gujjars, the migratory cattle herders of north India, have often been romanticized in folk-lore and literature, but the contemporary challenges being faced by the community have required them to reconfigure their age-old governance mechanisms. Neema Pathak Broome and Akshay Chettri discuss how enduring traditions and modern socio-political strategies are coming together to help a community negotiate the changing times.

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More powerful together – Alternatives as Resistance (Part 2)

The contemporary resistance to neoliberalism is searching for ways in which it can raise up the values and relations it is fighting for. It is also looking for low-carbon, ecologically sensible, culturally grounded alternatives, which would help stop the destruction of the planet. In this second part of her series, “More Powerful Together – Alternatives as Resistance”, Jen Gobby describes how movements in Canada are challenging the stale idea of making our existing systems work better. Instead, they are offering new societal alternatives by forging resistance to colonialism and resurgence of Indigenous economies, governance structures and ways of life.

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Setting out the principles of post-growth conservation

What would the post-growth conservation model look like? Would it continue to promote “fortress conservation” professing to preserve isolated ecosystems of “value” without really impacting the continued global exploitation of natural resources? Or, would it finally confront the profound sense of alienation that has developed between people and nature over the last three centuries through an almost demonic belief in free market capitalism ? A group of academics and activists from Wageningen University, the Netherlands and Kalpavriksh Environmental Action Group puts forward a conceptual outline of the future of conservation.

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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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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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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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RED Conversations Series – “Alternative Futures: India Unshackled”

Ashish Kothari was recently on a book tour in the U.S., promoting “Alternative Futures: India Unshackled”, a book he recently co-edited with K.J. Joy. Here, he discusses the main themes of the book with Pallav Das and an audience at “Busboys and Poets”, an activist book-store in Washington D.C.

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The Green Party of Germany – From Beacon of Hope to a Bog-standard Party

How do we think about alternative politics in light of the current stresses on the environment and the phenomenal increase in inequality, worldwide? Probably, the best place to start is to learn from similar experiments which took place in recent history. Saral Sarkar helps us understand the intellectual debate on the economy, ecology and social relations that took place within “green” politics in Germany, and its ramifications for the contemporary search for alternatives.

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European Water Movement – Statement from FAMA in Brasilia

Multinational corporations want to transform water as a commodity and promote financialization of water bodies and ecosystems, privatizing resources and commodifying a human right. Social movements, unions, local communities, feminist groups and indigenous peoples gathered in Brazil to organize and fight against that vile attempt.

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Yawal Wildlife Sanctuary – Resurgence Through People’s Participation

Yawal Wildlife Sanctuary in central India offers an excellent example of how village councils, with the help of local organizations and government agencies, can use the Forest Rights Act to transform a protected area on the brink of ecological and social disaster into a thriving habitat for wildlife. Neema Pathak-Broome and Yagyashree Kumar take us on that tough and meandering path to recovery.

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