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writing for godot

Primitive man had to protect himself from the threats of nature. Now, nature has to be saved from the threats of man. (Albino Gomez)

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Saturday, 12 June 2021 16:00

Human rights: Food for protecting the #1 thought  ‘The rights of nature’


Human Rights Reader 581


[TLDR (too long didn’t read): This Reader is about how protecting nature from extractivism and from climate change has become a top human rights priority. For a quick overview, just read the bolded text].


1.The ‘curse of natural resources’ tells us of the negative relationship between natural resources and their predominance in the export model for economic growth (i.e., growth by export of primary goods). The curse posts barriers to democracy, barriers to human rights (HR), fosters the capture of the state and corruption and is behind much of civil unrest. (G. Maciel)


2. The problem is that the dominant classes the world over have for too long believed they can control nature by subduing it so they can use it for their own selfish interests. This is how, in all continents, they have continuously smashed and trampled nature in an effort to force it to submit to their short-sighted aims --in a way, trying to demonstrate that the power of the powerful owners of the world is able to change the soil, the oceans and heaven itself. (Gloria Clavero)


We advocate for the defense of nature, but we are nevertheless consumerists (Marta Harnecker)


-Get a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and he’ll empty the seas by 2050, and we’ll all die. You should teach him how to cook lentils! (poster on Facebook)


3. We are told that individual action is the answer. Individual recycling, individual cutting back on consumption… Yes, recycling is a good way to raise consciousness about the trash we produce in our own homes, about reutilizing our clothes… so as to defeat the programmed obsolescence the market pushes us into. (Carmen Ibarra) But the cumulative effect of individual actions is actually a lie. [You’ll never see a monkey defending a tree on its own. Male and female monkeys band together to defend it in groups. Collective action is the identifying characteristic of primates. They are more cooperative than egotistical. (Martin Kowalewski)].


4. Tokenism will not do: People in countries rendered rich will not automatically lower their living standards. (Francine Mestrum)

Modern economies reward activities that extract value rather than create it (Mariana Mazzucato)


-The ideology of the ‘free’ market and of the speculative financial capital, both prevail over human beings and over the environment. (Global Social Justice)


5. Many countries record GDP growth while they lose ‘natural capital’ (i.e., natural assets such as soil, clean air and clean water). The most profitable corporations are also often those that are most responsible for environmental and social destruction. (Kate Donald et al, A Rights-Based Economy: Putting People and Planet First, CESR, 2020)


6. The litany of HR and environmental disasters involving business actors gets ever longer. These are not side effect of ‘doing business’, yet corporates enjoy only ‘limited liability’ in front of the law to answer for damages. Some investment treaties even allow corporations to sue governments that enact public health or environmental regulations which threaten their bottom line. It is actually the vast power imbalances inherent in the system that makes a mockery of environmental accountability. (K. Donald et al, ibid)


7. Over and over, TNCs use a tested legal playbook: Throw sand in the judicial machinery, litigate every last technicality, and use their huge wealth and phalanxes of attorneys to grind down the opposition. (Sierra Club)


8. So, keep in mind: Power concedes nothing without a struggle so that struggles for social and ecological justice will have to become generational efforts. (Roy Mirrison)


The climate crisis is a crisis of human rights, of social justice and of political institutions


-There are no jobs --not to mention security, freedom from hunger or clean water-- on a dead planet. (K. Donald et al, ibid)


9. You have perhaps heard about the ‘green-left’ ideology. It often remains a-political though and thus has its pitfalls. Actually, what neo-liberals advocate is not so very different from what these green-leftists proclaim --perhaps just enhanced with some more green language. Does this help or simply delays needed actions? Many within are asking does extractivism have to stop? [“You can hardly go begging when you are sitting on a bag of gold.” (ex-president Rafael Correa of Ecuador)] …and further ask, would it be better to defend a fair and monitored extractivism, with stringent rules? Food for thought…


10. When confronting the two major crises of today, social and ecological, we do not need lessons in morality and politically neutral ‘multi-sectoral approaches’. Rather, people rendered poor need income security and public services --the environmental crisis requires another economy. The task ahead implies more than looking for new names, it means looking for a new emancipatory social and ecological narrative and practice. (F. Mestrum)


11. Yes, we do need hope; of course we do. But the one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere. So, instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then, and only then, hope will come. (Greta Thunberg)


Claudio Schuftan, Ho Chi Minh City

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-Paraphrasing what we say for vaccines, when we deal with climate, no region will be safe unless all are safe. (Jeffrey Sachs)

-In every country in the world we teach our children that they belong to a certain nation and religion. The fact that we all live on the same planet Earth is not taken into consideration. The result is that we raise people with narrow personal identification, which can always be manipulated and used for violence and war with people of other nations and religions. In order to stop this centuries-long destruction we have to raise new generations that will first belong to the planetary society and second to a certain nation or religion. (Amrit Sorli) your social media marketing partner
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