Radical Ecological Democracy            Escaping the   Globalised ‘Development’ Trap
‘Development’• Development = opening up of  opportunities:  intellectual, cultural, material, s  ocial                 vs•...
Today’s vision                                             of                                       ‘development’Violence ...
Destruction of India’s environment                – 50% forest disappeared in last 200 years                – 70% waterbod...
The social context• Ecosystem-dependent people (60-70% of  India’s population):  food, medicine, livelihoods, fuel, shelte...
‘Globalisation’• Global flow of ideas, cultures, materials ismillennia old• Globalisation in latest avatar is dominatedby:...
Economic ‘reforms’?1991-onwards…• Trade (export-import) liberalisation• Foreign direct investment• Delicensing / single wi...
‘Liberalisation’: relaxing standards     and procedures for industry• 30 dilutions in Env. Protection Act  notifications (...
Results….• Increasing diversion of natural ecosystems like  forests (mining, dams), coasts (aquaculture,  ports) … 2 lakh ...
Impacts: India’s ecological    deficit (mirroring world trend)• World’s third largest ecological  footprint• Using twice w...
Impacts: India’s ‘development’           refugees• Over 60 million displaced in last 50 years• 40% of displaced are adivas...
Impacts: growing        inequality, leaving half our            population behind• Myth of growing employment:  ‘jobless g...
Water…the contested resource                •Several hundred million people without safe                drinking water    ...
India the new Coloniser      (joining China, Japan…) Karaturi Global: 350,000 ha. in Ethiopia for    floriculture, sugarca...
India (& China, etc) on the path  of ‘globalised development’?                   Gandhi:   ‘if India is to take Britain’s ...
Something fundamentally wrong with       development model?
Towards alternatives
Two imperatives….• Ecological  security(ecosystems, species, po  pulations, ecological functions…)• Livelihood security(es...
Towards tribal self-rule, with conservation:          Mendha-Lekha (Maharashtra)All decisions in gramsabha (village assemb...
Conservation of 1800 ha forests, now with full rightsunder Forest Rights Act                          Earnings from sustai...
www.kalpavriksh.org
Community forests in Orissa                       180 villages have joined in a Federation                       of forest...
Nagaland: indiscriminate hunting to strong                       conservation  About 600 villages have declared forest and...
Van Panchayats and self-initiated  community forests, Uttarakhand12,000 VPs (12-13% of state forests), other community    ...
Baiga chak (Madhya Pradesh):‘modern’ conservation by ‘primitive’ tribe                      Stopping commercial logging,  ...
Community Forest Rights (FRA)                      Several hundred claims accepted in                      Maharashtra (>7...
Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Sanctuary   & (illegal) Tiger Reserve, Karnataka  Community Forest Resource titles toSoliga, ov...
Food security:sustainable agriculture
Deccan Development Society (AP):     integrating conservation, equity, &livelihoods through sustainable agriculture•Revivi...
Beej Bachao Andolan, Garhwal,Uttarakhand                            Vijay Jardhari
An individual revolutionary…                              Natwar Sarangi                              Narishu vill, Cuttac...
Water security: decentralised harvesting & distribution
Arvari Sansad (Parliament), Rajasthan: water and food security through landscape governance
Livelihoods and jobs
Economic democracy…Livelihood security through community-ledcooperatives, self-help groups, producer companies:Dharani, An...
Jharcraft               Employment for 2.5 lakh families…(Jharkhand)              reviving crafts, reducing outmigration
Economic democracy… Markets and trade: Predominantly local, at least for basic needs (village free trade zone, Kuthambakka...
The Village and the City …
Gram swaraj:       outmigration is not inevitable Ralegan Siddhi and Hivare Bazaar(Maharashtra), Kuthambakkam (TN)
Towards sustainable citiesBhuj (Kachchh):•reviving watersheds, decentralized water storage and management•solid waste mana...
Dignified livelihoods for urban poor     Kagaj Kach Patra Kashtakari             Panchayat                 &              ...
Other alternativesEducation: traditional and modern, oral and written, localand global•Pachashala, AP•Jeevanshala, Narmada...
Other alternatives…Technologies to reduce ecological impact, reachthe poor (malkha cotton weaving, AP; Hunnarshalahousing,...
Radical ecological democracy           (RED)• achieving environmentally sustainable  human welfare, through governance  me...
Radical Ecological Democracy:A NEW POLITICSDecentralised decision-makingPolitical/financial/administrative powers with gra...
ecoregional           governanceparticipatory institutions at landscape (andseascape) level (e.g. Chilika, Arvari Parliame...
state and national governanceLand/water use plans: identifyingareas permanently conservedfor biodiversity, food security, ...
Global governanceUnited Peoples (to replace United Nations)?Peoples’ Sustainability TreatiesWhat else?
Radical Ecological Democracy:A NEW ECONOMICSLocated within ecological limits(freshwater, climate, biochemical cycles):unen...
Fundamental values &            principles of RED• Diversity and pluralism (of ideas, knowledge, ecologies,       economie...
How do we get to RED?
Creating space, buying time…• People’s resistance (Vedanta/POSCO, Orissa;  anti-SEZ; farmers against landgrab; 000s of  ot...
The government responds…• New laws:  – Right to Information Act  – National Employment Guarantee    Act  – Scheduled Tribe...
But beware of false orsuperficial solutions….REDD/REDD+, CDM,geoengineering, carbontrade, etc
Another word of caution…Not a call for blind revival of traditions(often socially oppressive, fatalist)Not fundamentalist ...
Some issues to resolve….Will big industry be needed? Under whose control?Will profits remain an incentive, will private se...
Consumerism:how to bell the cat?Personal actions: choices in use ofmaterials, energy, transportation,etcSocial actions: po...
An end to globalisation?• Global flow of ideas, cultures, materials willcontinue, but on principles of RadicalEcological D...
Scenarios for 2060…Business as usual: widespread ecologicalcollapse, worse social inequities, water/resourcewars, xenophob...
____ __ __ _ ______ ________ __   India is in a unique position toevolve alternative models of human   ______ ___________ ...
For more information….• www.kalpavriksh.org• ashishkothari@vsnl.com
Radical Ecological Democracy: Lessons from India for Sustainability, Equity, and Well-being
Radical Ecological Democracy: Lessons from India for Sustainability, Equity, and Well-being
Radical Ecological Democracy: Lessons from India for Sustainability, Equity, and Well-being
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Radical Ecological Democracy: Lessons from India for Sustainability, Equity, and Well-being

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Economic globalisation is unsustainable and inequitable; it needs to be challenged and replaced with alternative framework of Radical Ecological Democracy. Such a framework emerges from thousands of onground and policy initiatives already being practiced. These point to the need for localisation of economies and governance (direct democracy), embedded landscape level governance and planning, internalisation of ecological limits and resilience into all decision-making, promotion of dignified livelihoods and human rights, meaningful rights and access to basic needs, learning and health opportunities, and the qualitative pursuit of well-being.

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Radical Ecological Democracy: Lessons from India for Sustainability, Equity, and Well-being

  1. 1. Radical Ecological Democracy Escaping the Globalised ‘Development’ Trap
  2. 2. ‘Development’• Development = opening up of opportunities: intellectual, cultural, material, s ocial vs• ‘Development’ = material growth (through industrial and financial expansion) – measured in % economic growth, per capita income, etc• ‘Development’ model currently dominant only 50-60 years old
  3. 3. Today’s vision of ‘development’Violence against nature, people, andcultures
  4. 4. Destruction of India’s environment – 50% forest disappeared in last 200 years – 70% waterbodies polluted or drained out – 40% mangroves destroyed – Some of the world’s most polluted cities and coasts – Nearly 10% wildlife threatened withextinctionSmitu Kothari
  5. 5. The social context• Ecosystem-dependent people (60-70% of India’s population): food, medicine, livelihoods, fuel, shelter, clot hing, culture• Environmental destruction = livelihood, cultural, and physical displacement…for tens of millions of people
  6. 6. ‘Globalisation’• Global flow of ideas, cultures, materials ismillennia old• Globalisation in latest avatar is dominatedby: –unrestricted financial and economic flows –imposition of one model of ‘development’ across the world
  7. 7. Economic ‘reforms’?1991-onwards…• Trade (export-import) liberalisation• Foreign direct investment• Delicensing / single window clearances• Privatisation
  8. 8. ‘Liberalisation’: relaxing standards and procedures for industry• 30 dilutions in Env. Protection Act notifications (Coastal Regulation, Env. Impact Assessment), at behest of industry, and agencies like World Bank• Special Economic Zones (SEZ)...or Special Exploitation Zones?!
  9. 9. Results….• Increasing diversion of natural ecosystems like forests (mining, dams), coasts (aquaculture, ports) … 2 lakh ha. forests in last 5 years• Over-exploitation of resources for export (commercial fisheries, minerals…quantum jump) … Indian Ocean signs of depletion
  10. 10. Impacts: India’s ecological deficit (mirroring world trend)• World’s third largest ecological footprint• Using twice what can be sustained by our natural resources• Decline in capacity of nature to sustain us, by almost half(Global Ecological Footprint and CII, 2008)
  11. 11. Impacts: India’s ‘development’ refugees• Over 60 million displaced in last 50 years• 40% of displaced are adivasis, resettlement abysmal (Planning Commission)• Many millions more dispossessed of land, water, natural resources, livelihoods• Displacement of traditional livelihoods (e.g. handlooms)• Pauperisation of marginal/small farmers: 200,000 suicides (many in Punjab!)
  12. 12. Impacts: growing inequality, leaving half our population behind• Myth of growing employment: ‘jobless growth’ in organised sector: – 26.7 million in 1991 – 27 million in 2006!• Wealth inequities: – top 10% own 53% wealth – bottom 10% own 0.2%• % below poverty line: 38 to 55%• World’s largest number of malnourished and undernourished women/children
  13. 13. Water…the contested resource •Several hundred million people without safe drinking water •Globally, 3 times more expenditure on bottled water ($100 billion), than needed to provide clean drinking water and sanitation to every person on earth •Indian bottled water market growing 20-40%Smitu Kothari annually (global: 4.5%): from 2 mill. (1990) to 150 mill. cases (2010)! •Coca Cola mines groundwater away from villages that were using it (“if you can’t get water, drink Coke”!) •Enormous waste problem
  14. 14. India the new Coloniser (joining China, Japan…) Karaturi Global: 350,000 ha. in Ethiopia for floriculture, sugarcane, palm oil, etcEurovistaa: 10,000 ha. in Tanzania for cotton, 55,200 ha in Indonesia for palm oil More coming up in L. America and Africa Direct/indirect support by government
  15. 15. India (& China, etc) on the path of ‘globalised development’? Gandhi: ‘if India is to take Britain’s path of ‘development’, it will strip the world bare like locusts’
  16. 16. Something fundamentally wrong with development model?
  17. 17. Towards alternatives
  18. 18. Two imperatives….• Ecological security(ecosystems, species, po pulations, ecological functions…)• Livelihood security(esp. of those most directly dependent on ecosystems and natural resources)
  19. 19. Towards tribal self-rule, with conservation: Mendha-Lekha (Maharashtra)All decisions in gramsabha (village assembly);no activity even by Informed decisionsgovernment officials through monitoring, andwithout sabha consent regular study circles (abhyas gat)
  20. 20. Conservation of 1800 ha forests, now with full rightsunder Forest Rights Act Earnings from sustainable NTPF use (over Rs. 1 crore in 2011-12), and use of govt schemes towards: •Full employment •Biogas for 80% households •Computer training centre •Training as barefoot engineers Vivek Gour-Broome
  21. 21. www.kalpavriksh.org
  22. 22. Community forests in Orissa 180 villages have joined in a Federation of forest protection committeesDangejheri…allwomen’s forestprotectioncommittee
  23. 23. Nagaland: indiscriminate hunting to strong conservation About 600 villages have declared forest and wildlife reserves Khonoma Village Tragopan SanctuaryLuzaphuhu WLreserve Forest reserve of Chizami and 5 Sendenyu WL reserve, villages with its own “Wild Life Protection Act”
  24. 24. Van Panchayats and self-initiated community forests, Uttarakhand12,000 VPs (12-13% of state forests), other community forests (e.g. Chipko)
  25. 25. Baiga chak (Madhya Pradesh):‘modern’ conservation by ‘primitive’ tribe Stopping commercial logging, claiming community forest rights
  26. 26. Community Forest Rights (FRA) Several hundred claims accepted in Maharashtra (>7 lakh acres), Odisha (>70,000 acres) & Andhra 126,998 acres in Baiga & other areas, MPAssertion of CFRs against industrial projects (e.g.POSCO), mining (e.g. Vedanta), logging (e.g.Baigachak), plantations (Odisha)
  27. 27. Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Sanctuary & (illegal) Tiger Reserve, Karnataka Community Forest Resource titles toSoliga, over half of sanctuary; community- based wildlife/tiger conservation plan process initiated
  28. 28. Food security:sustainable agriculture
  29. 29. Deccan Development Society (AP): integrating conservation, equity, &livelihoods through sustainable agriculture•Reviving traditional diversity, promoting cultivated and wild foods•Creating community grain banks•Empowering women/dalit farmers, securing land rights•Creating consumer-producer links (Zaheerabad org. food restaurant)•Linking to Public Distribution System
  30. 30. Beej Bachao Andolan, Garhwal,Uttarakhand Vijay Jardhari
  31. 31. An individual revolutionary… Natwar Sarangi Narishu vill, Cuttack dist, Odisha Growing 360 varieties of riceSeed albums and banks GenX: Jubraj Swain
  32. 32. Water security: decentralised harvesting & distribution
  33. 33. Arvari Sansad (Parliament), Rajasthan: water and food security through landscape governance
  34. 34. Livelihoods and jobs
  35. 35. Economic democracy…Livelihood security through community-ledcooperatives, self-help groups, producer companies:Dharani, Andhra Pradesh; Kachchh Mahila Vikas Sanghatan /Kasab, Gujarat; Nowgong APCL, Madhya Pradesh; Nyoli, Uttarakhand;Swach, Pune; Aharam Traditional Crop Producer Co.,Tamil Nadu)
  36. 36. Jharcraft Employment for 2.5 lakh families…(Jharkhand) reviving crafts, reducing outmigration
  37. 37. Economic democracy… Markets and trade: Predominantly local, at least for basic needs (village free trade zone, Kuthambakkam, Tamil Nadu; proposed Green Economic Zone, Tejgadh, Gujarat; Amar Bazar eliminating middlemen, Assam) Indicators of human well-being replacing GDPLocal currencies andbarter, to reducestranglehold of money inour lives!
  38. 38. The Village and the City …
  39. 39. Gram swaraj: outmigration is not inevitable Ralegan Siddhi and Hivare Bazaar(Maharashtra), Kuthambakkam (TN)
  40. 40. Towards sustainable citiesBhuj (Kachchh):•reviving watersheds, decentralized water storage and management•solid waste management and sanitation•livelihoods for poor women•dignified housing for poor•Information-based empowerment under 74th Amendment(Hunnarshala, Sahjeevan, Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan, ACT, Setu)
  41. 41. Dignified livelihoods for urban poor Kagaj Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat & Swach (Pune)
  42. 42. Other alternativesEducation: traditional and modern, oral and written, localand global•Pachashala, AP•Jeevanshala, Narmada•Adivasi Academy, Guj•Beeja Vidyapeeth, Uttarakhand•Bhoomi College, Karnataka
  43. 43. Other alternatives…Technologies to reduce ecological impact, reachthe poor (malkha cotton weaving, AP; Hunnarshalahousing, Kachchh)Energy: decentralised, renewable(Ladakh solar; Bihar integrated)
  44. 44. Radical ecological democracy (RED)• achieving environmentally sustainable human welfare, through governance mechanisms that: – empower all citizens to participate in decision-making – ensure equity in socio-economic status – respect the limits of the earth and the rights of nature
  45. 45. Radical Ecological Democracy:A NEW POLITICSDecentralised decision-makingPolitical/financial/administrative powers with gram sabhas and urban areasabhas …. Extending 73/74th Amendments to ConstitutionLocalisation: clusters of settlements organised to be self-reliant inmeeting basic needsEmbedded within larger circles of exchange and decision-making
  46. 46. ecoregional governanceparticipatory institutions at landscape (andseascape) level (e.g. Chilika, Arvari Parliament …proposed W. Ghats authority)cutting across current political boundaries (e.g.river basin authorities)…eventually aligningpolitical boundaries with ecological ones(bioregionalism/ecoregionalism)?
  47. 47. state and national governanceLand/water use plans: identifyingareas permanently conservedfor biodiversity, food security, water, off-limits to damagingindustrial/mining/infrastructure activitiesReforming govt agencies: As facilitators, guarantors of rights ofpoor; environment and livelihoods at core of all ministries/depts;accountability and transparency through citizens’ charters,public audits, etcProposedNational Environment & Development Commission,constitutional body
  48. 48. Global governanceUnited Peoples (to replace United Nations)?Peoples’ Sustainability TreatiesWhat else?
  49. 49. Radical Ecological Democracy:A NEW ECONOMICSLocated within ecological limits(freshwater, climate, biochemical cycles):unending growth is impossibleEquity as core principle and outcomeIndicators of human well-being:food/water/energy security, dignifiedlivelihoods, happiness/ satisfaction, socialrelations, health and learning …Facilitation of local currencies and non-monetised exchanges
  50. 50. Fundamental values & principles of RED• Diversity and pluralism (of ideas, knowledge, ecologies, economies, polities, cultures…)• Self-reliance for basics• Cooperation, collectivity, and ‘commons’• Rights with responsibilities/duties• Dignity of labour• Respect to subsistence• Qualitative pursuit of happiness• Equity• Simplicity• Decision-making access to all• Respect for all life forms• Biophysical sustainability
  51. 51. How do we get to RED?
  52. 52. Creating space, buying time…• People’s resistance (Vedanta/POSCO, Orissa; anti-SEZ; farmers against landgrab; 000s of others)• NGO and community networking, joint actions
  53. 53. The government responds…• New laws: – Right to Information Act – National Employment Guarantee Act – Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006• New programmes: – Organic farming policies / programmes in 16 states (Sikkim, Kerala, Bihar…) – Kerala decentralised planning / Nagaland communitisation / Jharkhand’s Jharcraft
  54. 54. But beware of false orsuperficial solutions….REDD/REDD+, CDM,geoengineering, carbontrade, etc
  55. 55. Another word of caution…Not a call for blind revival of traditions(often socially oppressive, fatalist)Not fundamentalist environmentalism(green-saffron alliance; tiger vs. tribal…)
  56. 56. Some issues to resolve….Will big industry be needed? Under whose control?Will profits remain an incentive, will private sector have a role? What is the role of the ‘middle classes’? What ‘political’ forces will lead the way?
  57. 57. Consumerism:how to bell the cat?Personal actions: choices in use ofmaterials, energy, transportation,etcSocial actions: policies providingincentives for responsibleconsumption, disincentives forwasteful consumption
  58. 58. An end to globalisation?• Global flow of ideas, cultures, materials willcontinue, but on principles of RadicalEcological Democracy – Primacy to local self-reliance in basics – Ecological sustainability – Social, economic equity – Citizens’ decision-makingNO IMPOSITION OF ONE MODEL ACROSSWORLD!
  59. 59. Scenarios for 2060…Business as usual: widespread ecologicalcollapse, worse social inequities, water/resourcewars, xenophobia, fortress mentalityManagerial responses (tech/market fixes, betterlaws/policies): collapse is slowed down, not averted;inequities persistRadical ecological democracy: full-scale collapseaverted, seeds sown for dramatic paradigmshifts, bioregionalism and localisation gain overnationalism
  60. 60. ____ __ __ _ ______ ________ __ India is in a unique position toevolve alternative models of human ______ ___________ ______ __ well-being____ _____ ____ _____ with environmental _____________ ______________ sustainability
  61. 61. For more information….• www.kalpavriksh.org• ashishkothari@vsnl.com

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