Green grabs: The dark side of the green economy

Jun 14, 2012

the rapidly-growing appropriation of land and resources in the name of 'green ' biofuels, carbon offsetting schemes, conservation efforts and eco-tourism initiatives – is forcing people from their homelands and increasing poverty, new research has found.

Ecosystems being 'asset-stripped' for profit is likely to cause dispossession and further poverty amongst already-poor land and resource users, according to a set of 17 new research case studies from Africa, Asia and Latin America, published in a special issue of the Journal of Peasant Studies.

"Green grabs are the dark side of the green economy," said Professor Melissa Leach, director of the ESRC STEPS Centre. "If market-based mechanisms are to contribute to sustainable development and the building of economies that are not only green but also fair, then fostering an agenda focused on distribution, equity and justice in green market arrangements is vital."

This means including meaningful local engagement and consultation based on transparency, accountability and free, prior informed consent. Yet green markets cannot do it all. In the rush to repair a damaged nature through trading and offset schemes, the political-economic structures that caused the damage in the first place must not be neglected.

Responsibility for tackling unsustainable practices in wealthy industrialised settings should not be offloaded by financialising ecosystems in other parts of the world. And if sustainable development is genuinely to be pursued at Rio+20 and beyond, we need to recapture nature from the market's grasp, nurturing and legitimising more interconnected human-ecological relationships and understandings, along with tried-and-tested forms of local ecosystem stewardship based on them.

Examples of green grabs include: in Guatemala, conservation agencies, ecotourism companies and the military are 'protecting' the Guatemalan Maya Biosphere Reserve as a 'Maya-themed vacationland', violently excluding local people. In Eastern and Southern Africa, businesses are revaluing soil systems and farming practices for 'biochar', dispossessing farmers and pastoralists from land and resources important for their livelihoods. Meanwhile evidence is mounting that some Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD and REDD+) schemes are dispossessing local forest users of vital resource access.

Explore further: Does it help conservation to put a price on nature?

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User comments : 14

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NotParker
3 / 5 (12) Jun 14, 2012
What a surprise. (Not really).

kaasinees
2.7 / 5 (7) Jun 14, 2012
green fuel is an oxymoron, the fuel mafia, big oil, is the only one who called it green in the first place.
rubberman
2.7 / 5 (7) Jun 14, 2012
A shining example of humanities effect on a noble goal.....look what happened to the notion of god when it wound up in the hands of christians.
SatanLover
2.8 / 5 (9) Jun 14, 2012
The whole point of the "green movement" was to get RID OF fuels. Not invents some corn fuel that mitigates the problem.
Terriva
2.7 / 5 (6) Jun 14, 2012
For me the green technologies are the way, the main purpose of which is to delay adoption of cold fusion technology, i.e. to keep the status quo based on fossil fuel energy. The purpose of fossil tax offsets is to spread the fossil fuel based technologies into less developed countries. The emissions tax trading virtualizes the main purpose of carbon tax, i.e. the providing economic incentives for reduction of the carbon emissions and for introduction of green-house gases free technologies. Instead of it, the rich companies of western word are sponsoring the expansion of older fossil carbon technologies into less developed countries and nothing forces them to limit their own production of green-house gases.

The approach based on gradual decline of economy cannot have chance to success in the light of fast growing population. We need the growth promoting approaches and technologies - not the return to the obsolete plaint based fuels.
freethinking
3.4 / 5 (5) Jun 14, 2012
What's wrong with you people. Don't you know in the name of green, you can destroy the environment and economies, kill birds. It's corporations that are evil, not those that follow the green god of environmentalism.
rubberman
3.7 / 5 (6) Jun 14, 2012
The whole point of the "green movement" was to get RID OF fuels. Not invents some corn fuel that mitigates the problem.


But....you should be happy, the end result will be more customers for your master!
Caliban
3 / 5 (4) Jun 14, 2012
All valid points. But, as Terriva points out, cold fusion, or another energy technology on that order, is our only way off the Carbon Carousel.
Biofuels can work as a partial, temporary, bridge solution, but only if they don't use petroleum products, food crops, and cropland to produce them.

And "EcoTourism" is an oxymoron.
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (6) Jun 14, 2012
No.. The whole point of the green movement is to live sustainably while minimally impacting on the natural biosphere.

"The whole point of the "green movement" was to get RID OF fuels." - StanLover
Vendicar_Decarian
2.7 / 5 (7) Jun 14, 2012
Corporations are generally amoral and hence immoral.
Corporations are generally psychopaths, and hence require remediation.

Corporations are slave masters and hence the public requires emancipation.

"It's corporations that are evil" - FreeThinking

Corporations are increasingly farm owners and hence the cattle require liberation.
rwinners
3.5 / 5 (2) Jun 14, 2012
Gad, there are lots of horror stories waifing around the word "green".

How about this one: While the Federal Government subsidizes solar power manufacturing, local governments suck that subsidy up in fees and permits. 20 percent, -, of the cost of a solar installation is permits and fees and inspections.
Stupid.
SatanLover
2.6 / 5 (5) Jun 15, 2012
in other words, government creates jobs and you hate that.
freethinking
2.6 / 5 (5) Jun 15, 2012
How many none government persons does it take to support 1 government worker? If those same people spent the money taken by the 1, how many jobs could be created.

Every government worker REMOVES money from the system. Governement jobs do not produce anything and hence is a negative for the economy.
Noumenon
2.6 / 5 (5) Jun 16, 2012
Exactly, government jobs do not generate marketable value, thus the money such employees spend gets filtered through them without generating any real economic progress. Government jobs are dependent on tax revenue, which comes from the private sector to begin with.

Liberals only give idiots the impression that they "can" create jobs, because they don't think beyond what "sounds good" at the moment,... such is a liberal.

The government doesn't have to compete, earn a profit, create value, or even function within a limited budget, in fact they don't treat money like it is real at all,... they can just print money and borrow at will to "create jobs with".

Ultimately this is a form of redistribution of wealth, which devalues the dollar and is disastrous for the long term economy,.. besides being monetary fraud.

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