Some thought on the Greenwashing going on under the rubric of the “Green Economy” from the REDD monitor:-
NO REDD+! in RIO +20: A Declaration to Decolonize the Earth and the Sky
Last week, the Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities on Climate Change against REDD and for Life held a press conference denouncing REDD and the green economy. The press conference was part of the People’s Summit, a nine day event taking place in parallel to the UN Rio +20 conference.
“How can you sell the air? “How can you sell Mother Earth And Father Sky?” asked Marlon Santi of the Ecuadorian Amazon at the press conference. Berenice Sanchez of the Nahua People of Mexico added, “Not only does REDD+ corrupt the Sacred and fuel financial speculation, it also serves as greenwash for extractive industries like Shell and Rio Tinto.”
REDD-Monitor looks forward to discussion about the declaration, particularly from REDD proponents who didn’t fill in a job application form that includes the words “rape and pillaging of Mother Earth”, “crimes against humanity”, “genocide” and “a thinly-veiled, wicked, colonialist planet grab”.
NO REDD+! in RIO+20 – A Declaration to Decolonize the Earth and the Sky
Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities on Climate Change against REDD+
After more than 500 years of resistance, we, Indigenous Peoples, local communities, peasant farmers, fisherfolk and civil society are not fooled by the so-called Green Economy and REDD+ because we know colonialism when we see it. Regardless of its cynical disguises and shameful lies, colonialism always results in the rape and pillaging of Mother Earth, and the slavery, death, destruction and genocide of her peoples. Rio+20’s Green Economy and REDD+ constitute a thinly-veiled, wicked, colonialist planet grab that we oppose, denounce and resist. Rio+20 is not an Earth Summit, it is the WTO of Life.
Just as historically the Doctrine of Discovery was used to justify the first wave of colonialism by alleging that Indigenous Peoples did not have souls, and that our territories were “terra nullius,” land of nobody, now the Green Economy and REDD+ are inventing similarly dishonest premises to justify this new wave of colonialization and privatization of nature. Indigenous Peoples and peasants are being killed, forcibly relocated, criminalized, and blamed for climate change. Our land is being labeled “unused,” “degraded” or in need of “conservation” and “reforestation,” to justify massive land grabs for REDD+, carbon offset projects and biopiracy.
But what exactly is the Green Economy and REDD+? The Green Economy is nothing more than capitalism of nature; a perverse attempt by corporations, extractive industries and governments to cash in on Creation by privatizing, commodifying, and selling off the Sacred and all forms of life and the sky, including the air we breathe, the water we drink and all the genes, plants, traditional seeds, trees, animals, fish, biological and cultural diversity, ecosystems and traditional knowledge that make life on Earth possible and enjoyable.
The Green Economy is the umbrella for all kinds of ways to sell nature including REDD+, the Clean Development Mechanism, carbon trading, PES (Payment for Environmental Services), the financialization of nature, the International Regime on Access to Genetic Resources, patents on life, TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity), natural capital, green bonds, species banking and state and business “partnerships” with indigenous peoples. Under the Green Economy, even the rain, the beauty of a waterfall or a honey bee’s pollen will be reduced to a barcode price tag and sold to the highest bidder. At the same time, the Green Economy promotes and greenwashes environmentally and socially devastating extractive industries like logging, mining and oil drilling as “sustainable development.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
REDD+, like carbon trading and the Clean Development Mechanism, is a false solution to climate change promoted by the United Nations, the World Bank and climate criminals such as Shell and Rio Tinto, which allows polluters to continue to burn fossil fuels and not reduce their emissions at source. Officially, REDD+ stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation. But, REDD+ really means Reaping profits from Evictions, land grabs, Deforestation and Destruction of biodiversity. REDD+ constitutes a worldwide land grab and gigantesque carbon offset scam.
Originally, REDD just included forests and plantations, but its scope has been expanded to include GMO trees, soils and agriculture. Ultimately, REDD+ may try to include and expropriate the entire surface of the Earth including most of the forests, soils, fields, grasslands, deserts, wetlands, mangroves, marine algae and oceans to use them as sponges for industrialized countries’ pollution. REDD+ is also the pillar of the Green Economy and has been blasphemously heralded as “the spiritual core” of the “business plan” that the governments of the world are writing for the planet. REDD+ turns the sources of life on Earth into carbon garbage dumps; it turns the planet’s wombs into tombs. But we are not going to let this happen!
Maybe the Green Economy is called green because that is the color of the dollar and maybe REDD+ was so dubbed in anticipation of its bloody consequences. Ask Olivia Mukamperezida, mother of Friday, an eight-year-old boy from Uganda who, according to The New York Times, was killed when his home was burned to the ground as over 22,000 small farmers with land deeds were violently evicted for a carbon offset plantation. Ask farmer Antonio Alves who was persecuted, arrested at gun point and thrown in jail for 11 days by Força Verde, the armed guards of Chevron’s REDD+ project in Brazil, for cutting down a tree to repair his mother’s leaky roof. Ask Chief Daniel Jiménez of the Matsés People of the Peruvian Amazon who had criminal charges brought against him for defending his people against an exploitive REDD+ contract in a foreign language that gave the carbon trader total control over the Matsés’ rainforest and way of life, forever. Ask the Batwa Pygmy People who have suffered servitude on the World Bank’s Ibi-Batéké Forest Carbon Plantation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ask the Ngaju Dayak People of Indonesia who have denounced the Kalimantan REDD+ project because it generates conflict and violates their right to free, prior, informed consent enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
These examples help us all see through the shameful lies and crass propaganda that try to hide the truth about REDD+. We know that REDD+ is not about saving the climate or protecting forests or eradicating poverty or distributing “benefits” or empowering women. Even the United Nations itself admits that REDD+ could result in the “lock-up of forests,” “loss of land,” “conflict over resources,” “new risks for the poor” and “marginalize the landless.”
In fact, all the negative impacts of REDD+ that the UN foresaw are already happening. For example, in Africa, REDD+, carbon credits, agrofuels and export crops, are driving huge land grabs. Furthermore, since REDD+ now includes plantations and agriculture, already existing plantations, agrofuels and export crops could soon become carbon offset projects as well. Experts are warning that three-quarters of Africa’s population and two-thirds of its land are at risk and that REDD+ may create “generations of landless people.” In Africa, REDD+ is emerging as a new form of colonialism, economic subjugation and a driver of land grabs so massive that they may constitute a continent grab.
Meanwhile, inaction on climate change, masked by false solutions like REDD, is allowing the Earth’s temperature to rise 2 degrees or more, which effectively melts the Artic, incinerates Africa and drowns the Pacific. Nine countries are disappearing under the waves as the sea level rises in the Pacific where 90% of the population is indigenous. This constitutes climate racism and cultural genocide on an unprecedented scale.
Unfortunately, REDD+ affects all regions of the world and all social sectors. For peasant farmers, REDD+ constitutes a worldwide counter-agrarian reform and perverts the task of growing food into “farming carbon.” “Climate Smart Agriculture” is not smart, it is dumb. Moreover, “climate-ready” seeds and other supposed GMO climate fixes are just more attempts of Monsanto, the biotech industry and agribusiness to deform, patent and control our seeds, grab our fields and turn us into landless, indentured peons.
Applying a gender analysis to REDD+, it is clear that REDD+ also constitutes a new form of violence against women because it limits or prohibits women’s access to the land where we farm, gather food and draw water to feed and quench our families. Similarly, for Indigenous Peoples, REDD+ threatens our cultural survival and is potentially genocidal since REDD+ proponents want to expropriate and control the majority of the forests and 80% of the world’s biodiversity, which is found in our lands and territories. For fisherfolk and coastal communities, Blue REDD, that is doing REDD+ in the oceans and the waterways, could profoundly limit our fishing, thus undermining our sustenance and way of life. As for workers, we know that the jobs created by REDD+-type plantation projects tend to be fewer than promised, the wages and labor conditions poor, the right to unionize often violated and the exposure to carcinogenic pesticides high.
But REDD+ is not just destructive for adults. For children, youth and future generations, REDD+ and other false solutions to climate change, like large hydroelectric dams such as Belo Monte, agrofuels, “clean” coal, nuclear power, natural gas, hydraulic fracturing, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, bioenergy, biomass, biochar and geo-engineering, endanger the future and life as we know it. Instead of helping to reduce global warming, they poison and destroy the environment and let the climate crisis spiral exponentially, which may render the planet almost uninhabitable.
We cannot allow false solutions to climate change like REDD+ and the Green Economy to destroy the Earth’s balance, assassinate the seasons, unleash severe weather havoc, privatize life and threaten the very survival of humanity. REDD+ and the Green Economy are crimes against humanity and the Earth. However, we refuse to be the damned of the Earth and let the Earth be damned.
Heeding the wisdom of our elders and the prophecies of our ancestors, we launch this call for No REDD+! in Rio+20 and invite you to join us in planting this seed in the consciousness of the peoples of the world. Mother Earth, wounded and racked by pollution-induced fevers, is imploring us to change paradigms. Only a path which:
- Rejects REDD+ and the Green Economy as Privatization of Nature;
- Decolonizes life, land and the sky;
- Defends life and liberty;
- Respects human rights;
- Guarantees Indigenous Peoples’ rights;
- Honors Mother Earth and
- Protects the Sacred,
will save the world and allow us to live well and create the “future that we want.”
December 13, 2011 – Indigenous leaders returning from Durban, South Africa condemn the fiasco of the United Nations climate change talks and demand a moratorium on a forest carbon offset scheme called REDD+ which they say threatens the future of humanity and Indigenous Peoples’ very survival. During the UN climate negotiations, a Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities against REDD+ and for Life was formed to bring attention to the lack of full recognition of Indigenous rights being problematic in the texts of the UN climate negotiations.
“It was very disappointing that our efforts to strengthen the vague Indigenous rights REDD safeguards from the Cancun Agreements evaporated as the Durban UN negotiations went on. It is clear that the focus was not on strong, binding commitments on Indigenous rights and safeguards, nor limiting emissions, but on creating a framework for financing and carbon markets, which they did. Now Indigenous Peoples’ forests may really be up for grabs,” says Alberto Saldamando, legal counsel participating in the Indigenous Environmental Network delegation.
Berenice Sanchez of the Mesoamerica Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network says, “Instead of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 80% like we need, the UN is promoting false solutions to climate change like carbon trading and offsets, through the Clean Development Mechanism and the proposed REDD+ which provide polluters with permits to pollute. The UN climate negotiation is not about saving the climate, it is about privatization of forests, agriculture and the air.”
Tom Goldtooth, Director of Indigenous Environmental Network based in Minnesota, USA does not mince words. “By refusing to take immediate binding action to reduce the concentration of greenhouse gas emissions, industrialized countries like the United States and Canada are essentially incinerating Africa and drowning the small island states of the Pacific. The sea ice of the Inupiat, Yupik and Inuit of the Arctic is melting right before their eyes, creating a forced choice to adapt or perish. This constitutes climate racism, ecocide and genocide of an unprecedented scale.”
Of particular concern for indigenous peoples is a forest offset scheme known as REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). Hyped as a way of saving the climate and paying communities to take care of forests as sponges for Northern pollution, REDD+ is rife with fundamental flaws that make it little more than a green mask for more pollution and the expansion of monoculture tree plantations. The Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities against REDD+ and for Life, formed at the Durban UN climate negotiations, call for an immediate moratorium on REDD+-type projects because they fear that REDD+ could result in “the biggest land grab of all time,” thus threatening the very survival of indigenous peoples and local communities.
“At Durban, CDM and REDD carbon and emission offset regimes were prioritized, not emission reductions. All I saw was the UN, World Bank, industrialized countries and private investors marketing solutions to market pollution. This is unacceptable. The solutions for climate change must not be placed in the hands of financiers and corporate polluters. I fear that local communities could increasingly become the victims of carbon cowboys, without adequate and binding mechanisms to ensure that the rights of indigenous peoples and local forested and agricultural communities are respected,” Goldtooth added.
“We call for an immediate moratorium on REDD+-type policies and projects because REDD is a monster that is already violating our rights and destroying our forests,” Monica González of the Kukapa People and Head of Indigenous Issues of the Mexican human rights organization Comision Ciudadana de Derechos Humanos del Noreste.
The President of the Ogiek Council of Elders of the Mau Forest of Kenya, Joseph K. Towett, said “We support the moratorium because anything that hurts our cousins, hurts us all.”
“We will not allow our sacred Amazon rainforest to be turned into a carbon dump. REDD is a hypocrisy that does not stop global warming,” said Marlon Santi, leader of the Kichwa community of Sarayaku, Ecuador and long time participant of UN and climate change meetings.