Gustavo Esteva Had a Vision

All through his uniquely inventive life, Gustavo Esteva conceived and established trailblazing initiatives, opening up fresh possibilities to fashion new worlds, and he did so with an ever-expanding group of spirited and thoughtful collaborators, particularly in his native Mexico. In this tribute, David Barkin, one of Esteva’s long-time comrades, recounts the enormous impact his ideas and initiatives had on the quest for societal transformation.

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Is Italy’s new vision for environmental protection a real commitment to carbon neutrality?

As the need to address climate change and other environmental crises becomes increasingly critical, many countries have found it necessary to amend their national constitutions to strengthen existing provisions for environmental protection, and even introduce new ones. This past February, the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament passed legislation to amend two crucial Articles in the Constitution to align the country with the rest of Western Europe’s progressive vision on climate intervention. Fausto Corvino and Mitja Stefancic discuss the promise and challenges inherent in this significant move, particularly as the energy fallout from the on-going Russia-Ukraine conflict causes complex and worrying problems for Italy.

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Against the Universal Agent of Separation: A Review of Anitra Nelson’s “Beyond Money: A Post Capitalist Strategy”

In this second part of our series on Anitra Nelson’s, “Beyond Money: A Post-Capitalist Strategy”, John Clark reviews the path breaking book for RED. He concludes that Anitra Nelson’s inquiry takes “seriously the real possibilities for escape from the power of money and the urgent need to begin realizing those possibilities in the immediate future.”

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Marketing the planet: The financialization of nature

As pressure increases on corporations to transform their business models to address climate change, their response has been a stealth move in the shape of a project, which aims to financialize nature. The power elite recognizes that as ecological services regulating climate, and providing food, water, soil stabilization and cultural values become scarce and gradually degrade, they become more attractive to financial markets as economic assets for speculation and trade. Helena Paul discusses why this attempt at deflecting attention from the real need to change our current economic system based on perpetual growth would prove disastrous, and how “alternative” ideas and practices are contesting this nefarious design to perpetuate the neoliberal order.

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Caught in a rut?: How to stop resisting change and establish systemic “alternatives”?

It has always been hard for societies to effect change. Even when it does occur, change is painfully slow, and often late. Clem McCartney explores the socio-psychological reasons behind this resistance, and advances a strategy for intervening in the moribund societal discourse on meaningful transformation.

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The Prosumer Economy: Being Like a Forest

“Transition” explorations are sprouting all over the world. In Turkey, the “prosumer economy” is increasingly gaining recognition and support among the people looking for “alternatives”. Uygar Özesmi explains the progressive environmentalism and egalitarian economic thinking behind this unique initiative.

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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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An economy that works for everyone

Why does the current economic system continue to fail the vast majority of people all over the world despite the ostensible strength of the structures put in place to look after their welfare? How is it that while ecological turmoil and economic inequality continue to fester, the solutions provided by the ruling elite are always ineffective and mostly dubious? In this final part of the series on the “Shared Society”, Clem McCartney examines how the economy could be made to respond constructively to poverty, alienation and anomie affecting the world, and how people can proactively impact the process by which the economy is managed for the benefit of the majority, and ensure the survival of the planet rather than its annihilation.

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More powerful together – Integrating Resistance with Alternatives

Societal discontent manifests itself in the shape of resistance to the existing structures and is channeled through people’s movements. Hope, on the other hand, propels the society to look for alternatives to the existing paradigm. In this first article in a two part series, Jen Gobby provides an insight into how “resistance” and the search for “alternatives” are coming together to shape the movement towards an ecologically sensible and economically egalitarian future in Canada.

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Migration and the shared planet

Migration has been a constant factor shaping human history. People have moved from one geographic area to another for ages, sometimes out of choice, but far too often fleeing threats to personal safety and physical survival. In our times, immigration has become a point of tension in international politics as well as a significant cause of rising socio-political discord within countries. In this second part of our series on “Shared Societies”, Clem McCartney describes a path away from the fear, alienation, desperation and misery, which have marked the issue of migration. The article imagines a place where new solutions could be crafted and executed in an efficient and humane manner, more in consonance with our shared humanity than the malign cycles that our society has been caught up in.

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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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Looking beyond the pandemic: Agroecology, and the need to rethink our food system

The on-going pandemic has laid bare the inequalities inherent in the neoliberal economy. As jobs and livelihoods of the struggling majority get severely impacted all over the world, access to food has become a critical issue for people. In this in-depth analysis of the global food system, Helena Paul underlines the growing need for reshaping our food infrastructure around agroecology, a new paradigm where producers and consumers are connected with each other, and in harmony with land and nature.

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Saving a critical pastureland in Montenegro

In September 2019, the government of Montenegro converted a huge pastureland within a proposed Regional Nature Park into a military training ground against the opposition of the local people. Traditionally, pastoralists from the surrounding areas have used this area in the Sinjajevina Mountains as the summer grazing ground for their flocks. The decision was made with no publicly available environmental, health, or economic impact evaluations, and without any substantial negotiations with the affected communities, as well as in contravention of national and international laws. Pablo Domínguez, Maja Kostić-Mandić and Milan Sekulović tell us the story of a resistance movement, which is challenging rabid nationalist discourses, incipient neoliberalism and the entrenched ethno-politics of the Balkans to save a critical ecological area from disaster in Montenegro.

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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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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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Relocalization in the time of Coronavirus: Building Sustainable Social and Economic Systems

As Coronavirus upends the international economic system, it is imperative that the world community creates alternatives which could begin to replace this iniquitous and volatile system with those which are ecologically sustainable and nurturing of the human spirit. Christophe Aguiton, Genevieve Azam, Maxime Combes, Thomas Coutrot and Jean Gadrey describe how “relocalization” could contribute to the crafting of such alternatives.

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In Defence of Life: Cajamarca, Colombia

Deep in the embrace of the Colombian Andes Mountains, farmers, youth and other environmental defenders from Cajamarca have stopped a vast gold mine, re-valued the ‘true treasures’ in their territory and begun to develop regenerative alternatives to mining ‘development’. Mariana Gomez Soto and Benjamin Hitchcock Auciello explore this story of resistance and revival. This is the second case study in the on-going collaborative series between REDWeb and the global “Yes to Life, No to Mining” (YLNM) solidarity network.

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The Coming Green Colonialism

Given the clenching hold of inertia on international governments, not much was expected from COP25, the recently concluded U.N. Climate Change Conference. Predictably, it turned out to be a cop-out. Nnimmo Bassey gives us an idea of the frustrating and often pointless deliberations that took place inside COP25 and the dead-end they reached. As the author clearly shows, the ruling elite is utterly unable and unwilling to think in terms of alternatives to the ever failing neoliberal dispensation, and has completely abdicated any responsibility towards preventing climate chaos. A people’s struggle is the only way out.

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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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