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The group of feminist activists that participated in the 9th International Meeting of the WMW held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, included guests from other movements and organizations who were invited to share their experiences and knowledge. Karin Nansen, member of the Executive Committee of Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) and REDES-FoE Uruguay was one of the speakers of the panel “Women in the struggle against the commodification of nature”.
Nansen exposed the actual role played by the so called “green economy” at a panel that exposed how megaprojects appropriate and degrade natural goods and have a strong impact on women’s lives.
Green economy: redesigning accumulation and appropriation of goods
The member of FoEI began by describing the link between the different current global crises: food, environmental, climate and economic crises. She said there is a clear link between these crises: “We know that these crises are the result of the capitalist system that favors accumulation and it is related with the fact that we live under the hegemony of capital. Capital sets the goals of humanity based on this principle of accumulation”.
Based on this principle, the same crises are used to intensify this process. According to the environmental activists, transnational corporations and United Nations agencies claim “these crises happened because nature has no owner, so it would be necessary that someone owned nature, to put a price on nature, that everything could be bought and sold in the market, so that people value it”.
The solutions that came out from this false argument, according to Nansen, are what social movements have called “false solutions”: “I even think it is not enough to call them ‘false’, because they are actually terrible solutions, that destroy life, peoples and territories”, she said.
The world’s minority that promotes these processes is concerned about “how to recycle the forms of capital production and reproduction”, while keeping the old forms. ‘Green economy’ aims to go beyond appropriating existing territories, it aims to “commodify and privatize all life processes. They want all ecologic functions to be in private hands”.
An example of applying this principle to economics is the mechanism called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD): “Nowadays, forestry plantations, which have negative impacts on our territories and women, besides the profits they generate for the investors, can benefit for being carbon sinks”, warned Nansen.
“The ones who caused the crises are now being asked to solve them”.
Karin said that there seems to be a “technological optimism” about the different socio-environmental crises. However, she said “these technologies have owners. They belong to the same owners who caused the crises, which are the ones that are being invited to solve them. This means a greater appropriation of the territory”.
Finally, there was a recognition of the struggle of women in different territories. Karin said that women are currently leading several struggles. She also thanked the activists of the WMW and La Via Campesina for their teachings in general and in this meeting.
The challenge of women’s struggle is very important because there is a “growing criminalization of women” dedicated to the struggle: “in Latin America and the world there are many examples of women being persecuted and criminalized. So we need to be stronger, because we are being called to keep resisting. Women have created alternatives and we have the necessary knowledge to build food sovereignty, for example, because of the historic role that gave way to this knowledge”.
Photo: Yasmin Thomaz/WMW Brazil
A two-and-a-half year process of work which resulted in a meeting with several thousand Brazilian peasants; “a process that didn´t start now, and that won´t end here”, said Itelvina Massioli, national leader of the peoples´ struggle for land, agrarian reform and food sovereignty, in interview with Real World Radio after the 6th Congress of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST).
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