REDD

REDD shifts responsibility for the climate crisis to the countries of the South, which do not have historical responsibility for the crisis.

REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is a UN programme designed to allow polluters to offset their carbon emissions, in theory by protecting forest in developing countries. In reality, it allows corporate interests to grab huge areas of land in the Global South in what amounts to the theft of raw material and according to Friends of the Earth, “REDD shifts responsibility for the climate crisis to the countries of the South, which do not have historical responsibility for the crisis.”

Critiques of REDD are frequently muted by NGOs, corporative lobbies, governments, carbon traders, international financial institutions and the United Nations. For example, an Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) report that addressed the UN-REDD program’s failure to engage with local communities, was rejected by the World Bank on the grounds that the REDD scheme is “a widely accepted approach.”

Many indigenous communities, from Ecuador to Kenya to Papua New Guinea, are trying to stop it. They know that assigning an economic value to their forests puts more power in the hands of corporations and causes the upward redistribution of wealth from them to the rich and powerful elites. In April 2009, around 400 indigenous representatives signed the Anchorage (Alaska) Declaration, rejecting carbon trading and forest offsets as “false solutions to climate change.”

We partnered with No REDD in Africa Network, Indigenous Environmental Network and Friends of the Earth to run petitions in support of their work in Africa and California, where a precedent setting piece legislation (AB32) was threatening to extend REDD via state-level regulatory measures.

Results: AB32 passed. REDD still supported by Kenyatta and no improvement for Sengwe People, although the WB has since accepted that it violated its own safeguards in dealings with Sengwer people evicted from their lands

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Trump: Join us in connecting the dots

The election of Donald Trump has left millions, maybe even billions of us in shock. Although we may be looking with bewilderment at the US today, we should remember that he is not an isolated phenomenon. He is a symptom of a sickness that is raging all around the world. People are hurting, disillusioned with mainstream politics and increasingly angry at a neoliberal economic system that is destroying lives and the planet with increasing ferocity. And in their desperation they are willing to consider extreme measures to make themselves heard.

Demagogues thrive amid fear and insecurity, which is why they paint the world in such dark terms. It’s a strategy that has put right-wing populist leaders in power in an Axis of Egos: from Brazil to Turkey, the Philippines to Russia, authoritarian strongmen like Trump are on the rise. Meanwhile, many centrist liberals, like the Democratic Party in the US, have been so intent on rejecting left-wing populist solutions, and so sure of their ability to beat anyone running on a white supremacy platform with its misogyny and homophobia, that they opened the door for Mr. Trump to walk straight through. Their preference is always to maintain the status quo that has served them so well.

As dangerous as the election of Trump is for the world, we can also see in this moment the truth that we simply cannot rely on the electoral political system to save us, because it is designed to prevent the fundamental change we need. Its own survival is at stake and it will marshal all its champions and resources to defend itself and stop the emergence of a new system. But when we work, or continue working for change from the ground up; when we build or keep on building new ways of living and being with each other where we live; when we construct or keep constructing the future we know is possible with our own hands, rather than hoping distant leaders will build it for us, we find our true power. Finally, when we combine that with the unbending hope that has powered change through the ages, we know our power has meaning.

A 400-year-old economic system is dying and another is struggling to be born. Change on this scale is not going to be smooth or easy. We should not be surprised, then, that moments like this — where the establishment is dealt a body blow — become more and more common. We can despair when that blow comes in the form of right-wing extremists, or we can step-up. We are the ones we are looking for, who can and must grasp the opportunities in these crises that are undoubtedly there.

So it’s time to come together, taking time to remember the earth. Remember all the successful struggles for justice that came before us, and imagine all those to come. Remember that social movements are growing all over the world and realising the common struggle. Remember life. Then, organise. Find each other and help midwife the inevitable transition that brings forth from the ashes of neoliberal capitalism a system that works for the good of all life on Mother Earth. This is not just activism; this is our responsibility as human beings alive as this all unfolds.

This is why we are here.