Taking back our common lands and life

09.02.2016 - Tony Henderson

This post is also available in: Spanish

Taking back our common lands and life
Evo Morales at Progress Foundation meeting (Image by Efren Osario - Humanist Party)

There has always been something suspicious about what once was termed ‘global warming’, then became climate change – which no one can deny is taking place.

Then the issue was further refined and the core point became man-made negative changes in the environment due to industrial processes, also in animal husbandry.

This led to particular interest being focussed on burning coal inefficiently thereby releasing noxious gases into the atmosphere, also digging into marshlands and the like releasing methane. The oil and gas producers came under fire for the way they let gasses burn off the fields under the most cheap-and-easy extraction control methods plus the clear and rampant damage to land owing to oil leakage.

Now it is fracking which causes extensive damage to the lands subject to those high explosives that produce the cracks that allow the filtration-extraction and who knows what kind of mix up under the surface of where people live, farm and have livelihoods.

What has been getting at me though weres reports of all kinds of problems that were too easily related to said climate change when the clear and simple, if earth shaking changes of Mother Nature was seen, and where the blame was placed on some contrived phenomena that was a catch-all and short-circuited further questioning of that particular problem, namely, ‘climate change’.

An example is river erosion in Bangladesh. Pictures would appear in the media of disintegrating river banks and a sad family forlornly peering into the Meghna River that was pulling the earth away from underneath their fragile home. But I knew as the locals and the government did that the Meghna had for ever changed course according to the variables of nature.

What has to be done is help the family relocate in their own district. Also this would mean that just as land disappears from one river bank it reappears on another part of the river so government could negotiate resettlement appropriately and peacefully.

Of course there might be involvement in upper riparian siphoning off and damaging controls upriver, or, illegal logging far up in the river’s tributaries and that was causing excessive river flows in the flood season.

Thing is, under the influence of how climate change was being defined international pressures for monetary compensation would be initiated. This is happening even as far up the rankings as at the UN and those efforts paid off under a system where money is used as the primary means of solving problems – look at the refugees problem. But where did that money go? Not the family that lost its home by the river bank. No, it went to ‘further studies’.

Consultants and academics got the money and in turn advised more money go to certain institutions that were under the wing of big corporations and in this way the real solutions were swept under the carpet.

Actually no one interest in the environment was saying nothing should be done about the negative releases from industry and from such as private car ownership, of ecology-disturbing inputs, but the manipulative because bought-media pushed an agenda that billed ‘climate change’ as a culprit.

Not an intelligently understood or at least respected view on the vagaries of climate change, but with a strange bias which misappropriated released monies into the aforesaid directions without the least famous ‘trickle-down’ effect.

This is why the viepoint of such as Prof. Ian Plimer is important, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEPW_P7GVB8

Now, to solutions… Instead of providing ‘a solution’ let’s bring participatory democracy into play… What is needed is localised authority to act locally which is prioritised over and above federated authority.

The most recent ‘hot news’ on this was in Nevada’s Clark County in the USA with the cattle farmer’s rights stand-off; to quote the media: “The dispute between Bundy and federal authorities actually began in 1993 when he stopped paying monthly fees of about $1.35 per cow-calf pair to graze public lands. Plus, the government argues that Bundy has ignored cancellation of his grazing leases and defied federal court orders to remove his cattle.”

To see what has this to do with climate change is to be impressed that it is an irreversible general phenomena that simply has to be handled for-ever and for this a very old document holds the key… not the Magna Carta – which was something of a Confucian document concerning relations between kings and barons and not pertaining to the rights of the ordinary man but to the Charter of the Forest.

This charter re-established the rights of access to the royal forest for free men that had been eroded by the first Norman King of England (reigning from 1066 until his death in 1087) and his heirs.

Jumping back to modern times, in Canada, the Gitxaala First Nation has filed a lawsuit opposing a tar-sands pipeline passing through its territory, relying on recent high-court rulings on indigenous rights. (Quoting Naom Chomsky writing in Torture magazine – June 2015 volume 04 number 01 and 02.)

Further, in Ecuador, the large indigenous community played an essential part in the government’s offer to keep some of its oil in the ground, where it should be, if the rich countries would compensate Ecuador for a fraction of the lost profits. (The offer was refused.)

Chomski also noted that the one country governed by an indigenous majority, Bolivia, held a World People’s Conference in 2010, with 35,000 participants from 140 countries. It produced a People’s Agreement calling for sharp reductions in emissions, as well as a Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth. These are key demands of indigenous communities all over the world.

The solution lies in implementation of these demands that reflect an old wisdom that is surfacing across our planet from civilisations so-far unpolluted by the vices of modern materialist industrialisation and privatisation of everything. Which, contrary to the English term of ‘private simply meaning ‘it’s mine not yours….’ is a byword of corporations, governments and politicians under their sway for land and resources grabbing, plus militarisation, all without sovereign applicability and transcending any national right and beyond lawful control.

We the people have to claw back our rights from these multi-national institutions and the time is now; thus we see the phenomenal rise of small-scale protest groups and individuals everywhere who are increasingly aware of the wrongs and who today have the tools of self-education and social media to enable the outflanking of those stumbling elephantine powers despite their Kevlon super-hero equipment and military might.

Categories: Asia, Ecology and Environment, North America, South America
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