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Category Archives: Sustainable Development

Family Farming in Latin America and the Caribbean


Family farming in Latin America and the Caribbean: looking for new paths of rural development and food security [March, 2016]
(Sergio Schneider, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)

family-farmingAt the present moment in history, humanity is faced with several major challenges, one of them being that of feeding an increasingly populous and urbanised planet. The challenge is even greater as it becomes clearer that it is not just a matter of producing enough fibres and
primary products that can be processed into food to feed everyone. It is also worth noting that huge numbers of people still live under conditions of food insecurity, having restricted or scarce access to an appropriate supply of food. Generally speaking, people are increasingly
more reflective, demanding and vigilant. As there are claims for sufficient food supply to feed everyone, there is also a growing awareness that food should be produced using renewableenergy, with decreasing use of chemical additives (pesticides). Food security and sustainable
development are not opposites but, rather, complementary concepts.

How will agriculture produce, through environmentally sustainable ways, healthier food to supply the urban population of the planet? Who will produce these foods, and which farmers and which production systems are the most appropriate to meet this challenge? Obviously there is no ultimate answer to these questions yet, but this is undoubtedly one of this millennium’s greatest issues (Pretty 2010; IFPRI 2010; HLPE 2012; IAASTD 2009; The Economist 2011). Para acceder al texto completo family-farming-in-latin-america-and-the-caribbean

(Imagen tomada de https://cdeweb4.unibe.ch)

 

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Vivir con Menos – Consumo Colaborativo (Alberto Cañigueral)


vivir_mejor_con_menos_smallAlberto Cañigueral, nacido en Barcelona, y principal difusor del Consumo Colaborativo afirma en su publicación VIVIVR CON MENOS – DESCRUBE LAS VENTAJAS DE LA NUEVA ECONOMÍA COLABORATIVA: “Evidentemente yo no he sido ni mucho menos el primero enentrar a reflexionar sobre los peligros y problemas del hiperconsumo. Prueba de ello es que al poco de regresar a Barcelona cayó en mis manos un libro llamado Lo pequeño es hermoso , escrito en 1973. El autor, E.F. Schumacher, ya advertía acerca de los riesgos de una sociedad distorsionada por el culto al crecimiento desmedido y a la acumulación de bienes materiales.

Sus palabras resuenan con una fuerza inusitada al cabo de más cuarenta años:

«El desarrollo de la producción y la adquisición de riqueza personal son los fines supremos del mundo moderno.»

«No hay virtud en maximizar el consumo, necesitamos maximizar la satisfacción.»

«Los economistas ignoran sistemáticamente la dependencia del hombre del mundo natural.»

«Cualquier cosa que se descubra que es un impedimento al crecimiento económico es una cosa vergonzosa, y si la gente se aferra a ella se le tilda de saboteadora o estúpida.»

El autor ya apuntaba lo miope que resulta medir el progreso de un país en función de su producto interior bruto (PIB), un indicador que pone todo su foco en calcular el incremento de la producción y la compraventa de bienes y servicios, a la vez que ignora de manera sistemática el bienestar real de los ciudadanos. El gran problema es que luego usamos el PIB para el desarrollo de las leyes y las políticas económicas. Recientemente hay quien incluso ha defendido que la crisis económica en la que estamos inmersos ha sido una «crisis de medida»,porque hemos puesto toda nuestra atención en el PIB y nos hemos olvidado de las cosas realmente importantes.” (Pag. 7) Click aquí para acceder al texto completo Vivir Mejor con Menos – Economía Colaborativa

 

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Agroecología Campesina para la Soberanía Alimentaria – La Vía Campesina


Cuaderno No. 7 LVCLa Vía Campesina se complace en presentar el cuaderno de estudio número 7: “Agroecología Campesina para la Soberanía Alimentaria y la Madre Tierra, experiencias de La Vía Campesina” es cual es fruto de la construcción colectiva de las diversas organizaciones en las distintas regiones como África, América, Europa, Asia, que hacen parte de nuestro movimiento alrededor del mundo, quienes desde sus territorios plasmaron en 10 artículos sus experiencias en torno a la formación en agroecología, en la organización, en la producción y en la comercialización de alimentos sanos. Este conjunto de experiencias representan un proceso dinámico de prácticas y generación de conocimientos, tanto para formación al interior de nuestro movimiento, como para el intercambio de saberes y el diálogo campo-ciudad.

Además, este cuaderno busca visibilizar a la Soberanía Alimentaria desde su práctica para la incidencia política, que genere espacios de reflexión, con instancias académicas, políticas, aliados y amigos. Proponemos a la Agroecología Campesina como un modo de producción para el campo, donde la Soberanía Alimentaria se constituye en un principio de vida.

Año: Noviembre 2015

Para descargar el texto completo click Agroecología Campesina (Español  y también disponible en Francés e Inglés)

La Via Campesina is pleased to present study booklet number 7: Peasant Agroecology for Food Sovereignty and Mother Earth, experiences of La Via Campesina, which is the result of the collective efforts of various organizations from diverse regions including Africa, America, Europe and Asia. These groups make up part of our worldwide movement. From their distinct territories they shaped their experiences in agroecology training, organizing, production and marketing of healthy foods into 10 articles. This set of experiences represents a dynamic range of practices and knowledge, both for training within our movement and as a mechanism for additional knowledge exchange and rural-city dialogue.

This book also seeks to provide visibility of advocacy for Food Sovereignty which creates space for reflection, with examples from academic institutions, political allies and friends. We propose Peasant Agroecology as a way of production for rural communities, where Food Sovereignty constitutes a principle of life. Full text available here Peasant Agroecology

Enlace de la Via Campesina viacampesina.org

 

 

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Basic Criticism to an “Ecomodernist Manifesto”


This post was taken from Resilience.org (Mayo 6, 2015) http://www.resilience.org/stories/2015-05-06/a-degrowth-response-to-an-ecomodernist-manifesto

A Degrowth Response to an Ecomodernist Manifesto

Jeremy Caradonna et al.

A group known as the “ecomodernists,” which includes prominent environmental thinkers and development specialists such as Ted Nordhaus, Michael Shellenberger, Stewart Brand, David Keith,and Joyashree Roy has recently published a statement of principles called An Ecomodernist Manifesto (2015). Many of the authors of the Manifesto are connected to an influential think tank called The Breakthrough Institute.

The Manifesto is an attempt to lay out the basic message of ecomodernism, which is an approach to development that emphasizes the roles of technology and economic growth in meeting the world’s social, economic, and ecological challenges. The ecomodernists “reject” the idea “that human societies must harmonize with nature to avoid economic and ecological collapse,” and instead argue that what is needed is a reliance on technologies, from nuclear power to carbon capture and storage, that allow for a “decoupling [of] human development from environmental impacts.”

The Manifesto has already received strong criticism from an array of commentators, but none of these assessments has yet critiqued it from the perspective of “degrowth,” which is an approach that sees the transit ion to sustainability occurring through less environmentally impactful economic activities and a voluntary contraction of material throughput of the economy, to reduce humanity’s aggregate resource demands on the biosphere. From a degrowth perspective, technology is not viewed as a magical savior since many technologies actually accelerate environmental decline.

DegrowthWith these disagreements in mind, a group of over fifteen researchers from the degrowth scholarship community has written a detailed refutation of the Ecomodernist Manifesto which can be read here: Criticisms to An Ecomodernist Manifesto

The following is a summary of the seven main points made by the authors of this critique:

1.The Manifesto assumes that growth is a given. The ecological economists associated with degrowth assume that growth is not a given, and that population growth, inequalities, and the decline of cheap and abundant fossil fuels, which spurred the unprecedented growth of the global economy over the past century, means that the limits to growth are either being reached or will be reached in the very near future. The ecomodernists, by contrast, scoff at the idea of limits to growth, arguing that technology will always find a way to overcome those limits. Graham Turner, Ugo Bardi, and numerous others have shown through empirical research that many of the modeled scenarios, and the fundamental thesis, of the Club of Rome remain as relevant as ever—that is, that the human endeavor is bumping up against natural limits. Richard Heinberg has shown that theproduction of conventional oil, natural gas, and heavy oil all peaked around 2010, despite, but also due to, continued global reliance on fossil fuels, which still make up over 80% of the world’s primary source of energy. The history of industrialism to date suggests that more growth will be coupled with increasing environmental costs. Thus the Manifesto does nothing to question and rethink the growth fetish that has preoccupied (and negatively impacted) the world since at least the 1940s.

2. Ecomodernists believe in the myth of decoupling growth from impacts. Long the fantasy of neoclassical economists, industrialists, and many futurists decoupling is the idea that one can have more of the “good stuff” (economic growth, increased population, more consumption) without any of the “bad stuff” (declines in energy stocks, environmental degradation, pollution, and so forth). Yet to date, there has been no known society that has simultaneously expanded economic activity while reducing absolute energy consumption and environmental impacts. In terms of carbon-dioxide emissions, the only periods over the past century in which global or regional emissions have actually declined absolutely have occurred during periods of decreased economic activity (usually a political crisis, war, or a recession). While it is true that many countries have reduced their carbon intensity in recent decades, meaning that they get more bang for their energy buck, efforts to decouple GDP-growth from environmental degradation through technological innovations and renewable energies have failed to achieve the absolute emissions reductions and reductions in aggregate environmental impacts necessary for a livable planet. In short, absolute decoupling hasnot occurred and has not solved our problems.

degrowth escape3.Is technology the problem or the solution? The ecomodernists cannot decide. The Manifesto is open and honest about the impact that modern technologies have had on the natural world, and especially emissions from fossil-fueled machines. However, as an act of desperation, the ecomodernists retreat to the belief that risky, costly, and underachieving technologies, such as nuclear power and carbon capture and storage, will solve the climate crisis and energize the sustainable society of the future. The reality, however, is that nuclear power provides less than 6 percent of the world’s energy needs while creating long-term storage nightmares and present-day environmental hazards. We cite Chernobyl and Fukushima as obvious examples. From the point of view of degrowth, more technology is not (necessarily) the solution. The energy crisis can be addressed only by reductions in throughput, economic activity, and consumption, which could then (and only then) create the possibility of powering global society via renewables.

4. Ecomodernism is not very “eco.” Ecomodernism violates everything we know about ecosystems, energy, population, and natural resources. Fatally, it ignores the lessons of ecology and thermodynamics, which teach us that species (and societies) have natural limits to growth. The ecomodernists, by contrast, brazenly claim that the limits to growth is a myth, and that human population and the economy could continue to grow almost indefinitely. Moreover, the ecomodernists ignore or downplay many of the ecological ramifications of growth. The Manifesto has nothing to say about the impacts of conventional farming, monoculture, pesticide-resistant insects, GMOs, and the increasing privatization of seeds and genetic material. It is silent on the decline of global fisheries or the accumulation of microplastic pollution in the oceans, reductions in biodiversity, threats to ecosystem services, and the extinction of species. Nor does it really question our reliance on fossil fuels. It does argue that societies need to “decarbonize,” but the Manifesto also tacitly supports coal, oil and natural gas by advocating for carbon capture and storage. Far from being an ecological statement of principles, the Manifesto merely rehashes the naïve belief that technology will save us and that human ingenuity can never fail. One fears, too, that the ecomodernists support geoengineering.

5.The Manifesto has a narrow, inaccurate, and whitewashed view of both “modernity” and “development.” The degrowth 2Manifesto’s assertions rest on the belief that industrialized modernity has been an undivided blessing. Those who support degrowth have a more complex view of history since the 18th century. The “progress” of modernity has come at a heavy cost, and is more of a mixed blessing. The ecomodernists do not acknowledge that growth in greenhouse gas emissions parallels the development of industry. The core assumption is that “development” has only one true definition, and that is to “modernize” along the lines of the already industrialized countries. The hugely destructive development path of European and Neo-European societies is the measuring stick of Progress.

6.Ecomodernism is condescending toward pre-industrial, agrarian, non-industrialized societies, and the Global South.The issue of condescension is particularly stark in the Manifesto. There is not a word about religion, spirituality, or indigenous ecological practices, even though the authors throw a bone to the “cultural preferences” for development. Pre-industrial and indigenous peoples are seen as backwards and undeveloped. The authors go so far as to say that humans need to be “liberated” from agricultural labor, as though the production of food, and small-scale farming, were not inherent goods. There is no adoration for simple living, the small scale, or bottom up approaches to development.

7. The Manifesto suffers from factual errors and misleading statements. The Manifesto is particularly greenwashed when it comes to global deforestation rates. It suggests that there is currently a “net reforestation” occurring at the international scale, which contradicts the 2014 Millennium Development Report that shows that afforestation and reforestation have, in fact, slowed deforestation rates, but that the world still suffered a net loss of forested land between 2000 and 2010 by many millions of hectares. Research by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Wide Fund for Nature confirms the reality of net forest losses. Further, the Manifesto makes dubious claims about net reductions in “servitude” over the past few centuries, and the role played by pre-historical native peoples in driving the megafauna to extinction.

In sum, the ecomodernists provide neither a very inspiring blueprint for future development strategies nor much in the way of solutions to our environmental and energy woes.The full critique document was authored and endorsed by Jeremy Caradonna, Iris Borowy, Tom Green, Peter A. Victor, Maurie Cohen, Andrew Gow, Anna Ignatyeva, Matthias Schmelzer, PhilipVergragt, Josefin Wangel, Jessica Dempsey, Robert Orzanna, Sylvia Lorek, Julian Axmann, RobDuncan, Richard B. Norgaard, Halina S. Brown, Richard HeinbergRead the full document A Degrowth Response to an Ecomodernist Manifesto.This summary was originally published by Resilience.org, part of Post Carbon Institute’s Resilience program dedicated to building resilient communities as we transition away from fossil fuels

(Images taken from http://www.slate.com and http://www.ieet.org)

 

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CONFLICTOS AMBIENTALES EN COLOMBIA: INVENTARIO, CARACTERIZACIÓN Y ANÁLISIS


Compartimos hoy, una versión aún en borrador de la identificación y estudio de las principales particularidades de los CONFLICTOS AMBIENTALES EN COLOMBIA: INVENTARIO, CARACTERIZACIÓN Y ANÁLISIS (2014), realizada por el profesor Mario Alejandro Pérez Rincón, quien trabaja en el Instituto CINARA de la Universidad del Valle. Aún en borrador, porque aunque en esta versión ya se presenta el análisis de 72 casos de injusticia ambiental, “la recolección de casos todavía esté en curso y llegará posiblemente a un centenar, pero las tendencias de los conflictos y sus implicaciones ya están claras.”

El provocador resumen de la publicación expresa: “Las políticas de liberalización de mercados en América Latina y el Caribe (ALC) a iniciosconflictos ambientales de los noventa contribuyeron a conservar su rol histórico en la división internacional del trabajo como exportadora de materias primas y de recursos energéticos para el desarrollo del proceso metabólico del Sistema Económico Mundial. En Colombia, la especialización productiva potenció las ventajas comparativas asociadas a la abundancia de tierra, agua y clima y con ello generó un incremento significativo en el área utilizada por la dinámica económica extractiva. La expansión de estas actividades se encontró con formas de producción campesina y sociedades híbridas que dependen en buena medida de los servicios ambientales provistos por la naturaleza, con lo cual se intensificaron en forma significativa los conflictos e injusticias socio-ambientales. En este contexto, el propósito de este documento es doble: por un lado, realizar un inventario y mapeo inicial de los principales conflictos socio-ambientales en Colombia, habiéndose documentado inicialmente 72 casos distribuidos por todo el territorio nacional. Por otro lado, realizar un análisis descriptivo de los conflictos ambientales a partir de las principales variables utilizadas en el estudio, con el fin de obtener una mejor caracterización y entendimiento de los mismos. Además del uso de la cartografía para la ubicación espacial de los conflictos se utilizó la estadística descriptiva para profundizar en el análisis de las variables más relevantes de los mismos. Los resultados de la investigación permiten concluir que el sector extractivo explica buena parte de los conflictos ambientales del país (minería, biomasa y energía fósil) destacándose el oro y el carbón; que existe una clara relación entre la cantidad e intensidad de los conflictos ambientales y el modelo de desarrollo extractivo de los últimos gobiernos; que los principales grupos afectados son las comunidades pobres en particular, campesinos, indígenas y afrodescendientes encontrando evidencia en ese sentido de “racismo ambiental”; que existe gran dualidad para resolver los conflictos: por un lado la violencia persistente y por otro, el uso de mecanismos jurídicos y legales; y, finalmente que hay un relativo éxito de los movimientos sociales al detener, por lo menos parcialmente, 14 de los 72 proyectos generadores de conflictos. Esto muestra la bipolaridad de la sociedad colombiana que se enmarca en los extremos entre negociación, juridicidad y violencia.”

Para acceder al texto completo Conflictos Ambientales en Colombia

(Imagen tomada de censat.org)

 

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De nada! / You’re welcome!


De nada

 

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Atlas Conflictos Ambientales – Environmental Conflicts Atlas


Compartimos el Atlas de Conflictos Ambientales, creado y puesto a disposición del público por el Grupo “Justicia Ambiental”. (Ejatlas.org)

El Grupo Justicia Ambiental ofrece esta herramienta y otras disponibles como evidencia de los impactantes efectos negativos que ha nivel global, tiene la lógica del “Desarrollo”. Para acceder al atlas y demás recursos click sobre la imagen.

Atlas Conflictos Ambientales

 

 

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