LA RESISTENCIA.RESISTANCE AS A STRATEGY FOR SUSTAINABILITY
`The price of struggle is blood, death, tears, incarceration Confinement in a jail or prison; imprisonment.
Police officers and other law enforcement officers are authorized by federal, state, and local lawmakers to arrest and confine persons suspected of crimes. The judicial system is authorized to confine persons convicted of crimes. and pain. But for the poor, the humble, we have no other choice.
Lorenzo Muelas, Indigenous ex-Senator from Colombia
The poor, the oppressed op·press
tr.v. op·pressed, op·press·ing, op·press·es
1. To keep down by severe and unjust use of force or authority: a people who were oppressed by tyranny.
2. , the dominated have always resisted. That is why they are still alive. At its core is hope -- the belief in something better. Resistance, hope and struggle cannot be separated one from the other. Resistance is tied with a broader program for a better world -- we must take advantage of what is good, reject what is evil. If we lose our way, the enemy will prevail. Then history will be over.
Elmar do Nascimento, Movimiento de los Sin Tierra (Landless land·less
Owning or having no land.
Adj. 1. Peasants Movement, Brazil)
To someone active in the environment movement in Australia, the debate about tactics and vision often occurs within fairly narrow boundaries. Direct action or lobbying? What constitutes `non-violent' action? What emphasis should we place on public mobilisation? What about `new' campaign tools like shareholder activism? Given that most activists working on local campaigns are seriously under-resourced, it can be hard enough to share information and strategies around Australia, let alone around the world. At the same time, there is a growing awareness that in an age of global trade agreements, we can no longer afford the luxury of just keeping our heads buried in our own backyard.
There is also little awareness amongst Australian environmental activists of the size and nature of the environment movement that exists in other parts of the world (particularly outside the `First World' or Northern countries). With significant exceptions, and some heartening heart·en
tr.v. heart·ened, heart·en·ing, heart·ens
To give strength, courage, or hope to; encourage. See Synonyms at encourage.
Adj. 1. examples of solidarity over the last few years, Australia has arguably ar·gu·a·ble
1. Open to argument: an arguable question, still unresolved.
2. That can be argued plausibly; defensible in argument: three arguable points of law. one of the more insular insular /in·su·lar/ (-sdbobr-ler) pertaining to the insula or to an island, as the islands of Langerhans.
Of or being an isolated tissue or island of tissue. environment movements on the planet.
The following contains some observations about the current nature of the debate within one particular network of environmental activists, Friends of the Earth International Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) is a federation of autonomous environmental organizations from 70 countries around the world.
In contrast to many other NGOs operating internationally, Friends of the Earth is structured from the bottom up as a network of (FoEI). However, current debates are indicative of the issues that need to be considered by environmental activists in Northern countries like Australia if they are to break the pattern of inward-looking First-World campaigning.
To give a background to this debate, it is useful to outline the politics and structure of FoEI, FoE was founded in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. in 1969. It is now active in sixty-one countries, with over half of its member groups based in the South. FoE is especially strong in Latin America Latin America, the Spanish-speaking, Portuguese-speaking, and French-speaking countries (except Canada) of North America, South America, Central America, and the West Indies. , western and eastern Europe Eastern Europe
The countries of eastern Europe, especially those that were allied with the USSR in the Warsaw Pact, which was established in 1955 and dissolved in 1991. , and western Africa. As one of the `big three' environmental groups (along with Greenpeace International and the World Wide Fund for Nature The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organization for the conservation, research and restoration of the natural environment, formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in the United States and Canada. ), FoE's particular niche is that it combines the struggle for social justice with environmental concerns. National groups are independent, which translates as a huge diversity of style, size and politics within the FoEI federation. In recent times there has been substantial debate about the differences between Northern and Southern perspectives on environmental activism.
FoEI holds an annual meeting which is hosted by a different group each year. In November 1999, Accion Ecologica (FoE Ecuador) hosted the meeting. Generally, the local group organises a pre-conference on an issue that reflects local politics and concerns. When FoE Australia hosted the meeting in November 1998, the pre-conference was called `Global Survival and Indigenous Rights', and it brought together Indigenous and non-indigenous activists from around the country. This year's meeting was called La Resistencia: un Cambino hacia la Sustentabilidad (Resistance as a Strategy for Sustainability). The goal of the gathering was to `strengthen processes of resistance based on cultural, environmental and social arguments'. In many ways it was perceived as being in direct counter-balance to much of the debate in Western Europe Western Europe
The countries of western Europe, especially those that are allied with the United States and Canada in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (established 1949 and usually known as NATO). , which is focused on achieving sustainability through better use of resources (leading to a fairer share of consumption -- `environmental space with equity'). In contrast, the seminar organised by Accion Ecologica took the explicit position that more efficient use of resources, or `cleaner production', is not enough. It is this debate, effectively about whether sustainability will come from industrial fine-tuning and reform or fundamental social transformation, which is at the centre of the North-South debate. In contrast, mainstream environmental activism in Australia takes reform as being the central tenet TENET. Which he holds. There are two ways of stating the tenure in an action of waste. The averment is either in the tenet and the tenuit; it has a reference to the time of the waste done, and not to the time of bringing the action.
2. and operating model Operating Model is a term that is used in many contexts. In essence an operating model describes how an organization operates across both business and technology domains. The Operating Model describes what is important for the organization. of activity. It is when these two models are placed together that the differences and commonalities become clear, and lessons for Northern activists become apparent.
Sustainability and technology
The seminar sought to define the different types of campaigning -- the issue-specific and targetted campaigns that epitomise the activity of campaigners in the North (such as the campaign against mining company North Ltd's attempt to mine uranium in Kakadu National Park) and the broader cultural resistance of the South. Perhaps the key intertwining factor was that of globalisation and the fact that no place is spared from the endless demand for resources that are needed to sustain First-World lifestyles. The North (western Europe, the United States and Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand New Zealand (zē`lənd), island country (2005 est. pop. 4,035,000), 104,454 sq mi (270,534 sq km), in the S Pacific Ocean, over 1,000 mi (1,600 km) SE of Australia. The capital is Wellington; the largest city and leading port is Auckland. ) comprises around 28 per cent of humans on the planet, yet uses almost 80 per cent of resources consumed. Although this is a figure often cited, the issue of consumption is still remarkable. If we were all to live according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the consumption patterns of people in the North, we would need to put all of the arable systems on the planet under production. This would leave no space for nature conservation as currently understood -- the setting aside of areas for national parks This is a list of national parks ordered by nation. Africa
The question, of course, is how to achieve the necessary changes, which gets us back to the crux Crux (krks) [Lat.,=cross], small but brilliant southern constellation whose four most prominent members form a Latin cross, the famous Southern Cross. of the debate. Northern non-government organisations (NGOs) deal with transnational corporations Any corporation that is registered and operates in more than one country at a time; also called a multinational corporation.
A transnational, or multinational, corporation has its headquarters in one country and operates wholly or partially owned subsidiaries in one or more (TNCs) which are intractable and difficult. However, many of these same TNCs are operating over the top of human communities, often in conjunction with repressive regimes and without any form of regulation or control. The Indigenous experience of dealing with the day-to-day impacts of TNCs -- whether a mine, oil refinery or waste dump -- is not the reality lived by most non-Indigenous activists in Australia. The question was posed about how to deal with the differing situation experienced by NGOs in the North and the South. In the North, we lobby and campaign against TNCs, but in the short term our livelihood and communities are generally not directly threatened. In the South, communities, agriculture, food security, basic freedom and the right to community-controlled development are regularly placed under direct threat by TNCs. While Northern environmentalism environmentalism, movement to protect the quality and continuity of life through conservation of natural resources, prevention of pollution, and control of land use. is often perceived as being about quality of life issues, in the South it is more often a question of life itself.
A representative of Environmental Rights Action (FoE Nigeria) talked about the political reality of many Southern activists, stating that in effect what was needed was social transformation and the guarantee of the re-construction of society:
It is difficult to attempt dialogue when those who you take your concerns to are those who dominate you ... to resist simply means to oppose ... we need the capacity to say no and the ability to follow through in our resistance.
A statement from Accion Ecologica also summed up this perspective:
We claim the supreme right to resistance in order to exercise all these NOs. But we take up these negatives in order to build the great positive.
Most institutionalised Adj. 1. institutionalised - officially placed in or committed to a specialized institution; "had hopes of rehabilitating the institutionalized juvenile delinquents"
2. environmental activism in the North adapts itself to getting the best outcomes under the ruling party of the day. Groups go to great lengths to paint themselves as being `non-political' and `middle of the road'. While most people know that on a planet of limited resources, a system based on endless economic growth is simply a form of madness, the environment movement almost never articulates this fact. At best we talk about more efficient use of resources and cleaner production Cleaner production is a preventive, company-specific environmental protection initiative. It is intendend to minimize waste and emissions and maximize product output. . Elements of the Right also embrace this approach, claiming that increased economic growth leads to a greater excess of economic resources and hence greater capacity to improve the environment and moderate problems associated with economic growth. The mainstream groups are faced with endless attempts by politicians, right-wing think-tanks, public relations public relations, activities and policies used to create public interest in a person, idea, product, institution, or business establishment. By its nature, public relations is devoted to serving particular interests by presenting them to the public in the most companies and other vested interests vested interest
1. Law A right or title, as to present or future possession of an estate, that can be conveyed to another.
2. A fixed right granted to an employee under a pension plan.
3. to marginalise Verb 1. marginalise - relegate to a lower or outer edge, as of specific groups of people; "We must not marginalize the poor in our society"
interact - act together or towards others or with others; "He should interact more with his colleagues" their influence. As a result, most groups take the understandable, but ultimately cowardly, position of being `middle of the road' when it comes to fundamental political questions. We are over-worked and under-resourced and lack the time or capacity to fully develop alternative models or visions of what a sustainable society might look like. We are endlessly caught in a holding pattern of fighting `effect', but rarely getting to `cause'. There are even off-shoots of the movement where former activists are now acting as consultants to big business. We are consulted, engaged, paid to verify Corporate Reports; we are `stakeholders'; we campaign against specific companies, and any attempts to resist `corporate rule' are quietly dismissed as being left-of-field. Under this scenario, a benevolent green capitalism seems almost possible.
Again, this is a Northern perspective. Representatives from Movimiento de los Sin Tierra (Landless Peasants Movement, Brazil), stated:
We know the capitalist model cannot be painted with nice colors, it must be destroyed. It is a monster that cannot be transformed because by living it has to step on communities. Destroying it is the only way we will achieve a humane society A humane society is a group that aims to stop animal suffering due to cruelty or other reasons. Examples
Examples of humane societies include: The Humane Society of the United States, Peninsula Humane Society, American Humane which was founded in 1877 as a network of which also has respect for nature.
This is perhaps the second key difference between North and South: the question of whether current economic practices can be made more sustainable, and if they can, whether this will be enough.
Globalisation: `privatising the benefits, socialising the costs'
Ricardo Navarro, El Salvador El Salvador (ĕl sälväthōr`), officially Republic of El Salvador, republic (2005 est. pop. 6,705,000), 8,260 sq mi (21,393 sq km), Central America.
The notion of cultural resistance is at the core of this opposition, at the local level and the global. Globalisation, as noted by Ricardo Navarro of CESTA/FoE El Salvador, is simply the logical consequence of the capitalist model; its excesses and negative impacts shouldn't surprise us. It is an extension of what has happened in the past; the history of capital has always been to seek out new markets. It seeks to privatise Verb 1. privatise - change from governmental to private control or ownership; "The oil industry was privatized"
manufacture, industry - the organized action of making of goods and services for sale; "American industry is making increased use of the benefits but socialise Verb 1. socialise - take part in social activities; interact with others; "He never socializes with his colleagues"; "The old man hates to socialize"
socialize the costs. However, what is different now is that the global economy is running out of regions in which to exploit resources.
One development that has become noticeable in recent years is the dramatic impact of climate change on Southern environments. With increased flooding, unseasonal weather, and more and more destructive storms, many in the South say that they are already paying the cost of the enhanced greenhouse effect greenhouse effect: see global warming.
Warming of the Earth's surface and lower atmosphere caused by water vapour, carbon dioxide, and other trace gases in the atmosphere. Visible light from the Sun heats the Earth's surface. through loss of life and environmental destruction. The warmest year recorded during the last 600 years was 1998; the second highest, 1997. `Climate chaos' has become a regular occurrence in many parts of the South: fires in Brazil, Indonesia, and Russia; major flooding in Peru, Ecuador, East Africa and India; drought in Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea (păp`ə, –y ; and Hurricane Mitch Hurricane Mitch was one of the deadliest and most powerful hurricanes on record in the Atlantic basin, with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph (290 km/h). The storm was the thirteenth tropical storm, ninth hurricane, and third major hurricane of the 1998 Atlantic , which killed 20,000 people in Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. While climate change is also affecting the North, it is the South where the human and environmental costs have been the greatest. And while the North has extensive infrastructure (from emergency services emergency services Emergency care '…services …necessary to prevent death or serious impairment of health and, because of the danger to life or health, require the use of the most accessible hospital available and equipped to furnish those services' to insurance cover) in times of crisis, most Southern countries are hard-pressed just to maintain their debt payments to the North. As a result, they simply lack the resources necessary to provide for rapid recovery from these disasters. With this in mind, the environmental journal Rachel's Environment & Health Weekly proposed naming hurricanes after oil companies:
A headline like `Exxon kills 10,000, leaves 50,000 homeless' has a certain ring to it and drives home the fact that it is Northern consumption patterns and transnational behavior that are creating this change.
The extent of intrusion by transnationals is remarkable. This is, of course, primarily because of the demand for resources by the North. The rapid globalisation of markets and expansion into new regions is almost a mopping-up operation: the last `frontier forests' of Eastern Siberia Eastern Siberia is a part of Siberia that incorporates the territory located between the Yenisei River in the west and the Pacific Ocean divides in the east. Its area is equal to 7.2 million sq. km. and the Amazon are being logged and mined, resource wars for water, oil and access to land continue to grow in number, and oil production is where the current battlelines are being drawn. From undersea exploration in the Northern Arctic to the mangroves of Bangladesh, it is the oil industry which has become the new wave' of impact by industrialised Adj. 1. industrialised - made industrial; converted to industrialism; "industrialized areas"
industrial - having highly developed industries; "the industrial revolution"; "an industrial nation" society on communities in the South. There is also the legacy of oil deposits which have been exhausted. Companies move on, often with minimal remediation and considerable displacement of local communities. For the sake of cheap petrol in the North, communities and landscapes are left with a huge social and environmental burden.
This is apparent in Ecuador, where oil companies have been active for around twenty-six years. As one example, Texaco left around 700 pools of crude oil and toxic waste toxic waste is waste material, often in chemical form, that can cause death or injury to living creatures. It usually is the product of industry or commerce, but comes also from residential use, agriculture, the military, medical facilities, radioactive sources, and on lands that they had under production. Representatives of the Committee of Affected Peoples stated:
The destruction of natural resources has only fulfilled purposes for others -- it has made others rich; it has moved millions of vehicles, but it has left us sick. This path does not take us anywhere towards hope, only the road to destruction.
Following community campaigning, Texaco has agreed to remediate re·me·di·a·tion
The act or process of correcting a fault or deficiency: remediation of a learning disability.
re·me 120 of the pools, but none have yet been adequately cleaned up.
It is easy to be discouraged by these facts. But things are changing. While it has been fifteen years since the Bhopal disaster The Bhopal Disaster took place in the early hours of the morning of December 3 1984, in the heart of the city of Bhopal in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. in India, and Union Carbide Union Carbide Corporation (Union Carbide) is one of the oldest chemical and polymers companies in the United States, and currently has more than 3,800 employees. has never properly compensated the victims of this terrible disaster, there are signs that TNCs are being forced to fulfil the role they like to say they do: that of `good corporate citizen'. Fifteen years ago, companies like Texaco effectively operated without controls in the Amazon. Local communities began to resist, and then local campaigns linked with international NGOs in the consumer countries. This is when changes really started; and this is the third lesson -- co-ordinated internationalised action can deliver results not possible through national-level activity.
External debt: who owes who?
The question of climate change and external debt raises some interesting questions. While many thousands of people in the North have been concentrating on the Jubilee 2000 campaign, which is calling for the cancellation of `debt' owed by the poorest countries, a parallel voice is being raised in the South about the ecological debt This article or section has multiple issues:
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The claim for the ecological debt is from the South to the Northern industrialised countries, and is based on the observation that for the last 500 years the North has to a large degree lived on the land, labour and resources of the New World. The current economic system is based on the transfer of resources from the South (timber, fibre, food, energy, minerals and water) to the consumer-based societies in the North, usually in a way which doesn't adequately represent the cost of providing the resources. At the same time, the North's consumption patterns are creating human-induced climate change, being felt already in the South. So the industrialised world owes a double debt to the South, for resource use and the impacts of climate change. Put at its simplest:
The ecological debt involves the historical claim for the debt that the industrialised countries of the North have with the countries of the Third world for the looting, destruction and devastation that these countries caused during the colonial period Colonial Period may generally refer to any period in a country's history when it was subject to administration by a colonial power.
Even at a basic economic costing, it far outweighs the external debt owed to entities such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Recognising this fact shifts the emphasis of campaigns such as Jubilee 2000 from a sentiment of goodwill to a simple acknowledgement of the North owing the South, and places the North in the unusual position of being the debtor. The fourth point for Northern activists is that until we clear our ecological debt, it will be impossible to achieve sustainability.
The North in the South (and the South in the North)
There are some who believe that the terms `North' and `South' are already dated and no longer of use in either political analysis or day-to-day campaigning. They point to enclaves of middle-class consumers throughout the Third World and the pockets of absolute poverty in the North. Many also point to the fact that the gap between rich and poor within individual countries continues to widen. However, Yvonne Yanez, of Accion Ecologica, points out that the North still has the economic and political voice and the armed power to enforce its will on the rest of the world.
There are enclaves of difference -- and a huge diversity amongst all parts of the world in terms of the place of specific countries and communities within the global economic system. However, trade continues to be defined by the relations which have been set over the last 500 years. While we live in a post-colonial world, we operate by economic rules which were established during centuries of domination of the South by the North. And while new members may be admitted to the elite economic clubs (such as the OECD OECD: see Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. ) and other groupings create their own alliances to protect and advance their interests (such as APEC APEC
in full Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Trade group established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional economic blocs (such as the European Union and the North American Free Trade Area) ), the evolution of free trade agreements continues to favour the interests of those who control both the North and the South, while increasingly under-mining living and working conditions and environmental protection round the world. This is the fifth lesson: the middle-class environment movement will remain only partly relevant until it names this political reality.
Resistance is trying to recollect rec·ol·lect
v. rec·ol·lect·ed, rec·ol·lect·ing, rec·ol·lects
To recall to mind. See Synonyms at remember.
To remember something; have a recollection. history
We need not only to know what we are against, but to articulate what we are for. Gabriel Rivas Ducca (COECOCEIBA-AT/ FoE Costa Rica Costa Rica (kŏs`tə rē`kə), officially Republic of Costa Rica, republic (2005 est. pop. 4,016,000), 19,575 sq mi (50,700 sq km), Central America. ) reiterated that we need a `radical disruption of globalisation' with a new framework for visualising sustainable societies. This will include protection for local economies and active opposition to the globalising/integrating tendencies of transnational corporations. Here, the groups in the North come into the picture: they need to co-ordinate focussed campaigns against the activities of TNCs in the countries of the South. While there. is a strong, ongoing tradition of this (such as campaigns targetting Shell over its support for the Apartheid regime in South Africa South Africa, Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa. , or BP's involvement in oil drilling operations in Colombia), there is a need to dramatically increase the level of this type of campaigning. Activist groups in Australia should consider a `solidarity tax'; an allocation of a set amount of time per month to international solidarity activism.
Another common theme that was evident at the conference was that the governments and TNCs are selling and claiming things they don't even own: access to Indigenous lands, bio-resources, intellectual property rights. Esperanza Martinez (FoE Ecuador) explained the necessity of re-claiming rights to these things "These Things" is an EP by She Wants Revenge, released in 2005 by Perfect Kiss, a subsidiary of Geffen Records. Music Video
The music video stars Shirley Manson, lead singer of the band Garbage. Track Listing
1. "These Things [Radio Edit]" - 3:17
Sovereignty is the horizon that allows us to understand sustainability.
As Gabriel Rivas Ducca notes:
Once we have a framework for what we believe is the sustainable society, anything that doesn't fit the model should be rejected.
While many of us in the North are seeking models of a sustainable society, there are thousands of examples of pre-existing societies which have been sustainable for centuries. Yet many of these are under direct assault by economic and political sources that seek to use their lands for resource production for export to the industrialised world. Hence, opposition to these trends becomes an automatic defence of `sustainability'; back to the notion of La Resistencia: un Cambino hacia la Sustentabilidad.
Lorenzo Muelas, an Indigenous ex-Senator from Colombia, noted that:
The resistance has been going forever ... `ecologically sustainable development' is nothing new. Indigenous people have always had to handle it -- it is food security. Indigenous people capture and manage the resources of the land but without exaggerating ex·ag·ger·ate
v. ex·ag·ger·at·ed, ex·ag·ger·at·ing, ex·ag·ger·ates
1. To represent as greater than is actually the case; overstate: their needs, whereas Western notions of sustainable development Sustainable development is a socio-ecological process characterized by the fulfilment of human needs while maintaining the quality of the natural environment indefinitely. The linkage between environment and development was globally recognized in 1980, when the International Union seek to harvest resources at an exaggerated rate.
Environmental justice: an answer for the North?
If the recognition of a debt from the `developed' world to the `Third' world is the cornerstone of beginning to develop sustainable models of production and consumption, there will need to be fundamental change in the way the world carries out its business. Apart from reducing consumption to globally equitable levels, the countries in the North will also need to address their internal disparities of immense wealth and poverty. This is where environmental justice offers a solution.
Mainstream environmental activism in countries like Australia tends to be consciously middle-class and seeks to appeal to the existing power structures to gain environmental protection. In contrast, there has been a steadily growing movement which is based on demanding healthy work and living environments in many parts of the North. The environmental justice movement has its roots in poor Anglo, Indigenous, African and minority communities in North America North America, third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. who have been opposing the placement of noxious noxious adj. harmful to health, often referring to nuisances. industry, waste dumps and other aspects of the `downside' of modern capitalism within their communities. At its simplest, environmental justice is based on the observation that poorer communities tend to bear the brunt of environmental pollution. Environmental justice, with its strong emphasis on community resistance and demand for equity, has obvious links with the cultural resistance of the South.
It also offers new paths for the mainstream environment movement. There are large numbers of people in the North who have been politicised through resisting the imposition of developments within their communities. Many, if not the vast majority, of these people are not active within the mainstream movements and often come from constituencies and demographics dramatically under-represented in that movement. If the `traditional' environment movement is able to respond to these new constituencies, it will have taken an enormous step towards embracing an activism which is relevant in the global context.
We have no option but to globalise our resistance to environmental destruction. There has been a slow shift amongst many mainstream environment groups over the last decade to embrace social issues, but in the light of current trends of globalisation, there is also a strong need to increase the rate of this evolution. Esperanza Martinez of Ecuador believes that in order to move towards sustainability we need to respect and defend cultural diversity, question existing power structures and balance consumption patterns. This is in contrast to the mainstream environment movement in the North, which tends to simply want to lobby and campaign harder and more effectively to achieve short-term environmental outcomes without pushing for social change. According to REDES/FoE Uruguay, there are four dimensions to sustainability: environmental considerations; social considerations; political and economic considerations; and cultural concerns. All must be present at the same time for sustainability to be achieved. The key issue stopping sustainability is access to resources, decision-making power and minimal consumption levels. Clearly, this is a problem for many around the world, not just the South, and hence provides the commonality com·mon·al·i·ty
n. pl. com·mon·al·i·ties
a. The possession, along with another or others, of a certain attribute or set of attributes: a political movement's commonality of purpose. in developing a truly globalised resistance which will put us on the path to sustainability.
It is heartening to remember that this model is already strong in many parts of the North, including Australia. Kevin Dunion, of FoE Scotland, drew the debate together by talking about the struggle by the Greengairs community in Scotland, which had PCB PCB: see polychlorinated biphenyl.
in full polychlorinated biphenyl
Any of a class of highly stable organic compounds prepared by the reaction of chlorine with biphenyl, a two-ring compound. contaminated contaminated,
v 1. made radioactive by the addition of small quantities of radioactive material.
2. made contaminated by adding infective or radiographic materials.
3. an infective surface or object. waste from England dumped in their area because it was too toxic to be dumped in England. This working-class community joined with environmentalists to blockade blockade, use of naval forces to cut off maritime communication and supply. Blockades may be used to prevent shipping from reaching enemy ports, or they may serve purposes of coercion. The term is rarely applied to land sieges. waste shipments. The blockade was lifted after an agreement was reached for an independent environmental assessment of the site. Greengairs is, in many ways, an example of `the South in the North' and is indicative of the common cause to be found between First World and Third-World communities. It potentially also points the way to an activism which is global, politically aware, and based on the simple adage of `no less than a decent environment for all: no more than a fair share of the Earth's resources'. It is this type of action that could lead us to a future which is not only sustainable but also empowering and inherently based on equal access to decision making and resources for all.
For further information see: Rainforest Action Network Rainforest Action Network (RAN) is an environmental organization based in San Francisco, California, USA.
The organization was founded by Randy "Hurricane" Hayes in 1985. : http://www.ran.org/ Campaign for the Recognition and Claim for the Ecological Debt, FoE Ecuador: www.ecuanex.net.ec/accion Campaign for Environmental Justice, FoE Scotland: http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk
With thanks to Sarojini Krishnapillai.
Cam Walker is a member of Friends of the Earth, Melbourne.