There is no escaping it. 2016 was a terrible year for anyone concerned with social and environmental justice. Even so, amidst the gloom, there were important struggles and victories by social movements. Here are 12 stories that inspire us to act as we move into 2017.
Civil Society and Faith Organisations have issued an urgent appeal about worsening crisis in Myanmar. It is time for government and international community to stop responding to ethnic repression as exceptions but examples of deep challenges in the country.
Amidst the many challenges Myanmar now faces, the threats to the environment are urgent – and they are growing more extreme. The situation is especially serious in the case of mega dams and hydropower where a host of projects are being promoted, without appropriate planning or public consultation, that are likely to cause irreversible harm to communities and natural ecosystems around the country. Not only are many of the projects located in nationality areas that are conflict zones, but the bulk of the energy produced will also be exported to neighbouring countries.
Drug users from Kachin came together last November to discuss the challenges and difficulties they experience and identify possible solutions to their problems. Read their statement and recommendations.
The EU's reputation for clean and sustainable energy conceals a dirtier reality, particularly where renewable energy policies and development are driven by corporate interests. Today, nearly two thirds of all “renewable” energy in the EU comes from bio-energy. Although bio-energy appears to provide a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, there are serious questions about its actual emissions profile, and about environmental and social conflicts which are created or exacerbated by the industrial-scale production of biomass to meet European energy needs.
The first CITIES FOR PUBLIC WATER MEETING took place on 3rd and 4th November, 2016 in Madrid, convened by La Red Agua Pública/the Public Water network in collaboration with the Municipal Council of Madrid. The event can be considered a milestone in the public water movement as it has strengthened the alliance of different actors involved in the defence of the public management of water, from a perspective of common good and human rights and will permit a closer collaboration with municipal councils and other public institutions (universities, professional colleges, cultural entities, etc.) in the future.
Trump's obsession with security is not an anomaly, but a reflection of a growing tide of fear-based politics that has also shaped the climate change debate. In an interview about TNI's book, The Secure and the Dispossessed, Nick Buxton reflects on the 'securitisation' of climate change and the need to advocate a just transition.
The Paris Agreement required the 196 Parties to the UN Climate Convention to limit temperature increases to 2° or 1.5°C below preindustrial levels. While COP21 benefited from a high degree of mobilization linked to the adoption of an international agreement, COP 22 on the other hand has received rather less attention. Yet the stakes remain significant. In its haste, COP 22, being called the “action COP” or the “agriculture COP”, is in danger of adopting various misguided solutions for agriculture.
One of the first case studies on the website of energydemocracy.net is the city of Boulder, USA. Driven by a commitment to meet its climate goals, Boulder first sought to push its private investor-owned utility, Xcel Energy, to embrace a radical transition to low-carbon energy. The reluctance and obfuscation of Xcel led the city to develop plans for a municipal energy utility, which the city has continued to push forward in the face of legal challenges and misinformation campaigns.
World leaders are at the UN Climate Talks (COP22) this week. Developing real solutions to climate and energy challenges will require imagination, determination and inspiration. Inspiration may come from the many cities, communities and even countries that are working hard to make the energy sector democratic, equitable and based on renewable sources.
The outcome of the October 2nd plebiscite in Colombia was a surprise for the international community and different democratic sectors in the country. It was an invitation to the Colombian population to endorse the Agreements reached between Juan Manuel Santos’ Government and the left wing guerrilla group, the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC). The outcome was a surprise even among the conservative sectors and those that had opposed the Agreements, who did not expect a majority of a NO vote. The Agreements aimed to end the armed conflict with the guerrilla group which has lasted for more than 50 years.
The economic and political rise of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) has far-reaching implications for global agrarian transformation as key sites of production, circulation and consumption of agricultural commodities.