These are interesting times we are living in. A few new things to check out:
Today is the day that the 2,000+ participants in the National Water March in Peru begin to arrive in Lima, after eight days of marching. The march is in protest of the Minas Conga project, which has been generating prolonged controversy and unrest in the Cajamarca region. The march will culminate with the group submitting their own bill to Congress that would protect the water sources in Cajamarca. For updates, videos and photos from the march, see here. The results of the march and demonstrations will be of interest in the context of Peru’s passage of a law late last year requiring consultation for projects affecting indigenous groups. The Global Voices update page includes contradictory statements by Ollanta Humala around consultation and the Conga project:
“President Ollanta Humala indicated that “no project will be paralysed by prior consultation, and that it is not a pretext to halt investment”, in reference to the lack of regulations governing the implementation of the law, that should have been ready last December. In August last year, however, the President himself wrote on Twitter: “The right to prior consultation on the development of indigenous communities is a sign of greater social inclusion. Let’s create a Peru for everyone”” Source
Also, a Canadian mining company’s plans for a gold mine in Famatina, Argentina have been halted. This would not be the first time that community members in Famatina have fought against a planned mine. Read here a blow-by-blow account of their 2006/2007 push-back against Barrick Gold Co. It would appear that as long as there is a difference of opinion between the Provincial governor of La Rioja and the Mayor of Famatina on the usefulness of mining as a development framework, this sort of repeated struggle is bound to continue.
In other news, there is a new BBC podcast on the solutions to today’s food problems. You can listen here. While on the topic of food solutions, there are a number of videos on YouTube that Geoff Lawton‘s Permaculture Research Institute does on greening deserts and creating food forests, as well as looking at ancient food forests still thriving today. These links may seem a bit off-topic- since this blog tries to look at matters pertaining to the intersections between the environment, human rights, and the global economy, but Lawton’s work highlights the importance of understanding what resources are already available to us, and the value of retaining traditional ecological knowledge in natural resource management. Lawton’s efforts in that sense strike at the heart of what we have been talking about; as agribusiness expands into areas where traditional farming and land tenure was secure (see our recording below of Anuradha Mittal’s talk on land grabbing in Africa), as global trade regimes create disincentives for sustainable agriculture, the desertification that Lawton is trying to combat grows. If the knowledge isn’t shared, how will we know what the solutions and alternatives are?