Sav­ing the en­vi­ron­ment

Enterprise - - Letters -

There is a wide­spread feel­ing that the UN, which is be­ing mis­used by cor­po­ratist and cap­i­tal­ist en­gines to pro­mote their profit in­ter­est, is not at all se­ri­ous about tack­ling the im­pend­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal, as well as hu­man dis­as­ter. The al­ter­na­tive cli­mate move­ment, known as Peo­ple’s Sum­mit on Cli­mate Change, in­cludes grass­roots or­gan­i­sa­tions and net­works — in­clud­ing the Work­ers Gen­eral Con­fed­er­a­tion of Peru, An­dean Co­or­di­na­tor of In­dige­nous or­gan­i­sa­tions and Work­ers Au­ton­o­mous Cen­tral of Peru. It con­sti­tutes an al­ter­na­tive to the on­go­ing UN Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change, where gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives and cor­po­rate lead­ers are hold­ing the lat­est in a se­ries of UN talks. Lima is the fo­cal point for the al­ter­na­tive move­ment where so­cial move­ments and civil so­ci­eties from around the world have gath­ered to find a pos­si­ble last­ing so­lu­tion to the vexed en­vi­ron­men­tal tragedy ter­ri­bly im­pact­ing hu­man sur­vival. They had an am­bi­tious goal of de­vel­op­ing an al­ter­na­tive form of de­vel­op­ment, one that re­spects the lim­its and re­gen­er­a­tive ca­pac­i­ties of our planet and tack­les the struc­tural causes of cli­mate change. The so­cial move­ments and the pro­gres­sive forces of civil so­ci­ety are be­gin­ning to se­ri­ously pre­pare them­selves to present an ef­fec­tive al­ter­na­tive to pro­vide for a pro­tracted strug­gle to de­fend the peo­ple and the planet and cre­ate a just tran­si­tion from the ex­trac­tive and ex­ploita­tive global econ­omy to a demo­cratic econ­omy that aligns us with the nat­u­ral pro­cesses of the earth.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the fos­sil fuel in­dus­try have been hold­ing pri­vate meet­ings with nu­mer­ous na­tional del­e­ga­tions, in­clud­ing a closed-door meet­ing be­tween the Cana­dian del­e­ga­tion and Chevron and Tran­sCanada. Ac­tivists, in­clud­ing in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties in Colom­bia, Peru, Canada, and beyond, shut down a panel at the Con­fer­ence. The panel was orig­i­nally ti­tled “Why Di­vest from Fos­sil Fu­els When a Fu­ture with Low Emis­sion Fos­sil En­ergy Use is Al­ready a Re­al­ity?”. It was or­gan­ised by the fos­sil fuel in­dus­try lob­by­ists and fea­tured speak­ers from ma­jor cor­po­ra­tions.

The Peo­ple’s Sum­mit, which takes place from De­cem­ber 8 to 11, is “split into five tracks all of which ad­dress a piece of cli­mate change from food to rights of Mother Earth to al­ter­na­tive en­ergy and economies”. The Peo­ple’s Sum­mit or­gan­is­ers say the UN con­fer­ence presents an open­ing to civil so­ci­ety and so­cial move­ment groups to set their own vi­sion for global change head­ing into the Paris meet­ing. As world lead­ers draft a new cli­mate agree­ment, those gath­ered at the al­ter­na­tive sum­mit will “share ini­tia­tives, pro­pos­als and ex­pe­ri­ences”.

Mean­while, as part of ac­cel­er­at­ing wa­ter pol­lu­tion, the Sun­dar­bans in Bangladesh, South Asia, is now fac­ing a ma­jor en­vi­ron­men­tal dis­as­ter, after a ves­sel car­ry­ing over 350,000 litres of fur­nace oil cap­sized in the Sela River in the early hours of De­cem­ber 9. Such a spill can jeop­ar­dise the dol­phin sanc­tu­ary, the lo­cal food chain and the en­tire lo­cal ecol­ogy. With var­i­ous au­thor­i­ties, which nei­ther have the ex­pe­ri­ence nor the ca­pa­bil­ity to han­dle such a case, try­ing to pass the re­spon­si­bil­ity on to each other in­stead of mak­ing a move, the sit­u­a­tion is get­ting worse by the minute since the cap­size took place. Dr Ab­dur Ruff Colachal

New Delhi

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