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The war against environmentalism

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By Joan Martinez Alier.

The Hindutva nationalist right-wing prime minister Modi in India is rallying against Environmental Justice Organisations (EJOs) financed by foreign money. High on his list are EJOs from Scandinavian countries or Germany, which are “slowing down development” by stopping mining projects and defending tribal peoples living in forests, and also helping the green movements against nuclear power stations. Modi is supported by the Intelligence Bureau (whose recent report against civil society activities copies literally from Modi’s own speeches). Indian civil society and judicial system are hopefully still strong enough to resist such threats.

The supposedly leftist national-popular vice-president from Bolivia, Garcia Linera, defended the TIPNIS road, which opens up indigenous territories in Amazonia to oil exploration by attacking NGOs opposing the road as being paid for by the CIA or USAID. He wrote: “Some NGOs have become the means for the developed capitalist countries to attain territories and resources which otherwise could not be attained without negotiations or agreements with other national states”.

Meanwhile, another leftist national-popular politician in Latin America, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, attacks and tries to destroy environmentalist organizations such as Pachamama and Accion Ecologica, looking for foreign capitalist money under their beds while he is selling the country’s resources to foreign mining or oil companies.

There is a general offensive by states and corporations against grassroots environmentalism. This week’s prize for paranoia goes to NATO’s general secretary, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who very recently said in London that Russia was mounting a disinformation campaign aimed at undermining attempts to exploit shale gas. He claimed that Russia was secretly working with environmental groups campaigning against fracking in an attempt to maintain Europe’s dependence on energy imports from Moscow.

The joke about “military intelligence” comes to mind. Has “Mc Carthy” Rasmussen read for instance the well known book by Richard Heinberg, “Snake Oil: how fracking’s false promise of plenty imperils our future”? Heinberg is a researcher on “peak oil” and he asks now whether the recent increase in gas and oil production in the US through fracking is sustainable geologically, socially and environmentally. But neither Heinberg and dozens of scientists nor millions of people that protested against fracking are paid for by the Russians.

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