Radical Ecological Democracy

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

Environment

ActionAgendaAnalysisIdeasStories

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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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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A historical victory in Ecuador

A popular uprising in Ecuador recently forced the government to withdraw a decree being imposed on the country by the International Monetary Fund. Miriam Lang explains the environmental, political and economic context in which the popular movement emerged and gained ground to pose a challenge to neoliberal orthodoxy in Ecuador.

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REDWeb Conversations Series – Defining A Utopian Present In Christiania, Copenhagen.

What started as a politicized form of squatting in an abandoned military base has turned into a unique experiment in utopian thought and practice in Christiania, an autonomous neighborhood in Copenhagen. Ashish Kothari and Shrishtee Bajpai speak with Natasha Verco, a resident and activist about the promise and challenges of Christiania.

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IdeasStories

Matching Resources to Needs – Moving the Flow of Gifting from Theory to Practice

Since the advent of the industrial age the relationship between humans and the web of life has gradually ruptured. The natural abundance and flow that guided interactions between humans and nature have been impeded to the extent that we now face existential threats to our civilization. Miki Kashtan helps us understand how we can restore interdependent flow of energy and resources through collaboration and releasing our reliance on control.

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Eight Principles of a New Economics for the People of a Living Earth

Contemporary economics propagates the false notion that we humans are primarily financial beings whose well-being is predicated upon endless growth on the planet and the consequent generation of money. The climate emergency facing us today has shattered that premise, underlining the fact that we are first and foremost living beings whose well-being depends on the health and vitality of a living Earth. David Korten challenges the flawed theories and principles that bear major responsibility for the unfolding crisis and proposes a new set of economic principles which could help us navigate the current environmental mess.

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RED Conversations Series – Housing is a human right

The housing market is one of the important pillars of the contemporary free-market economy. It has also proven to be its achilles heel, as was evident during the market collapse of 2008, which was triggered by the bursting of the real-estate bubble. The modern housing scenario is marked by rampant household indebtedness, rapacious land-grabbing and corrupt real-estate developments. Given the resource intensive nature of the contemporary structures it is not surprising that buildings today contribute around 30 percent of carbon emissions, globally. How do we tackle this mammoth problem that could turn into a socio-economic catastrophe at any time? Ashish Kothari discusses this critical issue with Anitra Nelson and Fracois Schneider, the editors of “Housing for Degrowth: Principles, Models, Challenges and Opportunities”, which looks for feasible alternatives to the current housing mess.

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Market Fundamentalism vs. Community Rights on the Danish Coastline

In the early 2000s, the market forces tried to upend the quiet lives of the fishing communities in northern Denmark, intending to make a fast buck on the fishing riches of the Bay of Jammerbugt coastline. Mathilde Autzen recounts the inspiring story of a smart and bold pushback organized by the Thorupstrand community to reclaim their fishing rights and lay the foundation of a sustainable future.

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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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How noble was the Nobel this time?

William Nordhaus was recently awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics for his work on how to address climate change using cost-benefit analysis of limiting greenhouse gases. Gurudas Nulkar helps us understand the intricate nature of Nordhaus’ research and explains why it needs closer scrutiny before any conclusions can be drawn about the long-term benefits of his work on climate change.

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