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 many misunderstandings of degrowth: A response to Kelsey Piper’s “Can we save the planet by shrinking the economy?”

The concept of “degrowth” is evoking interest in the mainstream media, but more as an exotic, impractical idea than a serious attempt at addressing the current environmental emergency and rising economic inequality. Carlos Tornel responds to a recent article on “degrowth” in the Vox Magazine to set the record straight.

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The path to a just and sustainable society

If the current neoliberal dispensation continues to make the society increasingly unequal, and the planet progressively unlivable, how do we transition to a new system, which addresses these challenges with deliberate intent and assured success? In the second part of his discussion on “Eco-anarchism”, Ted Trainer lays out the core characteristics of a post consumer capitalist society, operating on the principles of “The Simpler Way”.

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Eco-socialism vs. Eco-anarchism: Exploring “The Simpler Way”

As the search for alternatives to the current neoliberal order becomes increasingly essential and urgent, analysts and activists are beginning to clarify their theoretical frameworks for crafting a new world. In this first part of a two part series, Ted Trainer discusses the idea of “The Simpler Way” to construct a sustainable future based on Eco-anarchism.

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From Political Ecology to Critical Theory, and back again

As we look for societal alternatives to neoliberal fundamentalism, it is important to situate our search in a credible philosophical framework. Omar Dahbour takes a dive into the works of Adorno, Horkheimer and Marcuse to explain how “Critical Theory” could help conceptualize such alternatives by recalibrating the relationship between human beings and nature.

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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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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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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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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 – 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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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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In Search Of A Grown-up Economy

Is it possible to create an alternative to the corporatized conception of a good life? How do we challenge the stranglehold of endless growth on our economic system? Katherine Trebeck and Jeremy Williams critically examine the orthodoxy of development in this article and introduce us to the exciting idea of “economic arrival”, which advocates for shared wellbeing on a healthy planet.

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RED Conversations Series – A Meaningful Journey

Ashish Kothari speaks with Elandria Williams and Mabrouka Mbarek about a unique journey of explorations and discovery they undertook in three cities of the United States to understand the nature of socio-economic struggle being waged by the Black communities and the political awakening it has resulted in.

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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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Engaging with the Plutocene

The neoliberal dispensation governing the world is pushing it towards an ecological catastrophe while ensuring the economic and political supremacy of an entrenched elite class. Using an income-based class perspective, Marko Ulvilla and Kristoffer Wilen discuss the ways in which we could create ecologically sustainable and socially equitable post-growth societies.

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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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