[News] The Environmental Movement in the Global South

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Sat Oct 13 11:34:05 EDT 2007


http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=56&ItemID=14026

The Environmental Movement in the Global South:
The Pivotal Agent in the Fight against Global Warming
by Walden Bello; Focus on the Global South; October 13, 2007

The developing world’s stance towards the 
question of the environment has often been 
equated with the pugnacious comments of former 
Malaysian Prime Minister Mohamad Mahathir, such 
as his famous lines at the Rio Conference on the 
Environment and Development in June 1992:

When the rich chopped down their own forests, 
built their poison-belching factories and scoured 
the world for cheap resources, the poor said 
nothing. Indeed they paid for the development of 
the rich. Now the rich claim a right to regulate 
the development of the poor countries
As colonies 
we were exploited. Now as independent nations we 
are to be equally exploited 
<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#1a#1a>1.



Mahathir has been interpreted in the North as 
speaking for a South that seeks to catch up 
whatever the cost and where the environmental 
movement is weak or non-existent. Today, China is 
seen as the prime exemplar of this Mahathirian 
obsession with rapid industrialization with minimal regard for the environment.



This view of the South’s perspective on the 
environment is a caricature. In fact, the 
environmental costs of rapid industrialization 
are of major concern to significant sectors of 
the population of developing countries and, in 
many of them, the environmental movement has been 
a significant actor. Moreover, there is currently 
an active discussion in many countries of 
alternatives to the destabilizing high-growth model.



Emergence of the Environmental Movement in the NICs



Among the most advanced environmental movements 
are those in Korea and Taiwan, which were once 
known as “Newly Industrializing Countries” 
(NICs). This should not be surprising since the 
process of rapid industrialization in these two 
societies from 1965 to 1990 took place with few 
environmental controls, if any. In Korea, the Han 
River that flows through Seoul and the Nakdong 
River flowing through Pusan were so polluted by 
unchecked dumping of industrial waste that they 
were close to being classified as biologically 
dead. Toxic waste dumping reached critical 
proportions. Seoul achieved the distinction in 
1978 of being the city with the highest content 
of sulphuric dioxide in the air, with high levels 
being registered as well in Inchon, Pusan, Ulsan, 
Masan, Anyang, and 
Changweon<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#2a#2a>2.



In Taiwan, high-speed industrialization had its 
own particular hellish contours. Taiwan’s formula 
for balanced growth was to prevent industrial 
concentration and encourage manufacturers to set 
up shop in the countryside. The result was a 
substantial number of the island’s 90,000 
hectares locating on rice fields, along 
waterways, and beside residences. With three 
factories per square mile, Taiwan’s rate of 
industrial density was 75 times that of the US. 
One result was that 20 per cent of farm land was 
polluted by industrial waste water and 30 per 
cent of rice grown on the island was contaminated 
with heavy metals, including mercury, arsenic, 
and cadmium<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#3a#3a>3.



In both societies, farmers, workers, and the 
environment bore the costs of high-speed 
industrialization. Both societies, it is not 
surprising, saw the emergence of an environmental 
movement that was spontaneous, that drew 
participants from different classes, that saw 
environmental demands linked with issues of 
employment, occupational health, and agricultural 
crisis, and that was quite militant. Direct 
action became a weapon of choice because, as Michael Hsiao pointed out:



People have learned that protesting can bring 
results; most of the actions for which we could 
find out the results had achieved their 
objectives. The polluting factories were either 
forced to make immediate improvement of the 
conditions or pay compensation to the victims. 
Some factories were even forced to shut down or 
move to another location. A few preventive 
actions have even succeeded in forcing 
prospective plants to withdraw from their planned 
construction<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#4a#4a>4.



  The environmental movements in both societies 
were able to force government to come out with 
restrictive new rules on toxics, industrial 
waste, and air pollution. Ironically, however, 
these successful cases of citizen action created 
a new problem, which was the migration of 
polluting industries from Taiwan and Korea to 
China and Southeast Asia. Along with Japanese 
firms, Korean and Taiwanese enterprises went to 
Southeast Asia and China mainly for two reasons: 
cheap labor and lax environmental laws.



Environmental Struggles in Southeast Asia



Unlike in Korea and Taiwan, environmental 
movements already existed in a number of the 
Southeast Asian countries before the period of 
rapid industrialization, which in their case 
occurred in the mid-eighties to the mid-nineties. 
These movements had emerged in the seventies and 
eighties in struggles against nuclear power, as 
in the Philippines; against big hydroelectric 
dams, as in Thailand, Indonesia, and the 
Philippines; and against deforestation and marine 
pollution, as in Thailand and the Philippines. 
These were epic battles, like the struggle 
against the Chico River Dam in the northern 
Philippines and the fight against the Pak Mun Dam 
in the northeast of Thailand, which forced the 
World Bank to withdraw its planned support for 
giant hydroelectric projects, an outcome that, as 
we shall see later on, also occurred in struggle 
against the Narmada Dam in India. The fight 
against industrial associated partly with foreign 
firms seeking to escape strict environmental 
regulations at home was a case of a new front 
being opened up in an ongoing struggle to save the environment.



Perhaps even more than in Northeast Asia, the 
environmental question in Southeast Asia was an 
issue that involved the masses and went beyond 
being a middle-class issue. In the Chico 
struggle, the opposition were indigenous people, 
while in the fight against the Pak Mun Dam, it 
was small farmers and fisherfolk. The 
environmental issue was also more coherently 
integrated into an overarching critique. In the 
case of the Philippines, for instance, 
deforestation was seen as an inevitable 
consequence of a strategy of export-oriented 
growth imposed by World Bank-International 
Monetary Fund structural adjustment programs that 
sought to pay off the country’s massive foreign 
debt with the dollars gained from exporting the 
country’s timber and other natural resources and 
manufactures produced by cheap labor. The middle 
class, workers, the urban poor, and 
environmentalists were thrust into a natural 
alliance. Meantime, transnational capital, local 
monopoly capital, and the central government were 
cast in the role of being an anti-environmental axis.



The environmental movements in Southeast Asia 
played a vital role not only in scuttling 
projects like the Bataan nuclear plant but in 
ousting the dictatorships that reigned there in 
the seventies and eighties. Indeed, because the 
environment was not perceived by authoritarian 
regimes as “political,” organizing around 
environmental and public health issues was not 
initially proscribed. Thus environmental 
struggles became an issue around which the 
anti-dictatorship movement could organize and 
reach new people. Environmental destruction 
became one more graphic example of a regime’s 
irresponsibility. In Indonesia, for example, the 
environmental organization WALHI went so far as 
to file a lawsuit for pollution and environmental 
destruction against six government bodies, 
including the Minister of the Environment and 
Population<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#5a#5a>5. 
By the time the dictatorships wised up to what 
was happening, it was often too late: 
environmentalism and anti-fascism fed on one another.



Environmental Protests in China



We might be seeing the same process in China today.



The environmental crisis in China is very 
serious. For example, the ground water table of 
the North China plain is dropping by 1.5 meters 
(5 feet) per year. This region produces 40 
percent of China's grain. As environmentalist 
Dale Wen remarks, “One cannot help wonder about 
how China will be fed once the ground aquifer is 
depleted” 
<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#6a#6a>6. 
Water pollution and water scarcity; soil 
pollution, soil degradation and desertification; 
global warming and the coming energy crisis­these 
are all byproducts of China’s high-speed 
industrialization and massively expanded consumption.



Most of the environmental destabilization in 
China is produced by local enterprises and 
massive state projects such as the Three Gorges 
Dams, but the contribution of foreign investors 
is not insignificant. Taking advantage of very 
lax implementation of environmental laws in 
China, many western TNCs have relocated their 
most polluting factories into the country and 
have exacerbated or even created many 
environmental problems. Wen notes that the Pearl 
River Delta and Yangtze River Delta, the two 
Special Economic Zones where most TNC 
subsidiaries are located, are the most seriously 
affected by heavy metal and POPs (persistent 
organic pollutants) 
pollution<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#7a#7a>7.



Global warming is not a distant threat. The first 
comprehensive study of the impact of the sea 
level rise of global warming by Gordon 
McGranahan, Deborah Balk, and Bridget Anderson 
puts China as the country in Asia most threatened 
by the sea level rise of up to 10 meters over the 
next century 
<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#8a#8a>8. 
144 million of China’s population live in 
low-elevation coastal zones, and this figure is 
likely to increase owing to the export-oriented 
industrialization strategies pursued by the 
government, which has involved the creation of 
numerous special economic zones. “From an 
environmental perspective,” the study warns, 
“there is a double disadvantage to excessive (and 
potentially rapid) coastal development. First, 
uncontrolled coastal development is likely to 
damage sensitive and important ecosystems and 
other resources. Second, coastal settlement, 
particularly in the lowlands, is likely to expose 
residents to seaward hazards such as sea level 
rise and tropical storms, both of which are 
likely to become more serious with climate 
change”<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#9a#9a>9. 
The recent spate of super-typhoons descending on 
the Asian mainland from the Western Pacific 
underlines the gravity of this observation.



In terms of public health, the rural health 
infrastructure has practically collapsed, 
according to Dale Wen. The system has been 
privatized with the introduction of a “fee for 
service” system that is one component of the 
neoliberal reform program. One result is the 
resurgence of diseases that had been brought 
under control, like tuberculosis and 
schistosomiasis. Cuba, in contrast, has won 
plaudits for its rural health care system, which 
is ironic, says Wen, given that the Cuban system 
was based on the Maoist era’s “barefoot doctor” 
system<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#10a#10a>10.



Another big public health issue has been food 
safety. The combination of the industrialization 
of food production and the lengthening of the 
food chain from production to consumption is 
strongly suspected to be the cause of bird flu, 
which has migrated from China to other countries. 
The government has become an unreliable actor in 
dealing with new diseases such as bird flu and 
SARS, prone as it is to engage in minimizing the 
threat if not promoting a cover-up, as it did in the case of SARS.



As in Taiwan and Korea 15 years earlier, we see 
unrestrained export-oriented industrialization 
bringing together low-wage migrant labor, farming 
communities whose lands are being grabbed or 
ruined environmentally, environmentalists, and 
the proponents of a major change in political 
economy called the “New Left.” 
Environment-related riots, protests and disputes 
in China increased by 30% in 2005 to more than 
50,000, as pollution-related unrest has become “a 
contagious source of instability in the country,” 
as one report put it. Indeed, a great many of 
recorded protests fused environmental, land-loss, 
income, and political issues. From 8700 in 1995, 
what the Ministry of Public Security calls "mass 
group incidents" have grown to 87,000 in 2005, 
most of them in the countryside. Moreover, the 
incidents are growing in average size from 10 or 
fewer persons in the mid-1990s to 52 people per 
incident in 2004 
<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#11a#11a>11. 
Notable were the April 2005 riots in Huashui, 
where an estimated 10,000 police officers clashed 
with desperate villagers who succeeded in 
repelling strong vested interests polluting their lands.



As in Taiwan, people have discovered the 
effectiveness of direct action in rural China. 
"Without the riot, nothing would have changed," 
said Wang Xiaofang, a 43-year-old farmer. "People 
here finally reached their breaking 
point"<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#12a#12a>12. 
As in Southeast Asia, struggles around the 
environment and public health may be leading to a 
more comprehensive political consciousness.



The strength of China’s environmental movement 
must not be exaggerated. Indeed, its failures 
often outnumber its successes. Alliances are 
often spontaneous and do not go beyond the local 
level. What Dale Wen calls a national “red green” 
coalition for change remains a potential force, 
one that is waiting to be constructed. 
Nevertheless, the environmental movement is no 
longer a marginal actor and it is definitely 
something that the state and big capital have to 
deal with. Indeed, the ferment in the countryside 
is a key factor that is said to have made the 
current Chinese leadership to be more open to 
suggestions from the so-called “New Left” for a 
change of course in economic policy from rapid 
export-oriented growth to a more sustainable and 
slower domestic-demand led growth.



The Environmental Movement in India



As in China, the environment and public health 
have been sites of struggle in India. Over the 
last 25 years, the movement for the environment 
and public health has exploded in that country. 
Indeed, one can say that this movement has become 
one of the forces that is deepening Indian democracy.



Environmental and public health struggles go way 
back, but perhaps the single biggest event that 
propelled the movement to becoming a critical 
mass was the Bhopal gas leakage on December 3, 
1984, which released 40 tons of methyl isocynate, 
killing 3000 people outright and ultimately 
causing 15,000 to 20,000 
deaths<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#13a#13a>13. 
The struggle for just compensation for the Bhopal 
victims continues till this day.



There is today a proliferation of struggles in this vast country.



There is the national campaign against Coca Cola 
and Pepsi Cola plants for drawing ground water 
and contaminating fields with sludge. There are 
local struggles against intensive aquaculture 
farms in Tamil Nadu, Orissa, and other coastal 
states. There is a non-violent but determined 
campaign by farmers against GMO’s, which has 
involved the uprooting and burning of fields 
planted to genetically engineered rice.



In public health, the key issue has been the 
tremendous pressure from foreign pharmaceutical 
companies to get India to adopt patent 
legislation that would be consistent with the 
WTO’s Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights 
Agreement (TRIPs). The great fear is that this 
would affect the ability of the country’s 
pharmaceutical industry to produce cheap generic 
drugs for both the home market and for export. 
With between 2 million and 3.6 million people 
living with HIV­putting India behind South Africa 
and Nigeria in numbers living with HIV­and with 
so many African countries with large HIV-infected 
populations depending on cheap Indian drug 
imports, to comply or not to comply with TRIPs 
has become a life-and-death issue.



Two years ago, key amendments pushed by 
progressive forces were incorporated into the 
Indian Patents Act, resulting in what one 
influential journal described as “a relatively 
loose patents regime for 
now”<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#14a#14a>14. 
One key amendment was that Indian companies could 
continue to produce and market drugs they were 
producing before January 1, 2005, after paying a 
“reasonable royalty” to the patent holder. They 
were banned from doing this under the previous 
patent regime. Another important amendment made 
the process of exporting drugs to another country 
less cumbersome by eliminating the need for a 
compulsory license from that 
country<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#15a#15a>15. 
These may seem to be minor gains, but in the 
byzantine world of TRIPs, the devil is in the detail.



It would be worthwhile, at this point, to look 
closely at what has become the most influential 
of India’s mass-based environmental movement: the anti-dam movement.



Dams often represented the modernist vision that 
guided many Third World governments in their 
struggle to catch up with the West in the 
post-War period. The technological blueprint for 
power development for the post-World War II 
period was that of creating a limited number of 
power generators--giant dams, coal or oil-powered 
plants, or nuclear plants--at strategic points 
which would generate electricity that would be 
distributed to every nook and cranny of the 
country. Traditional or local sources of power 
that allowed some degree of self-sufficiency were 
considered backward. If you were not hooked up to 
a central grid, you were backward.



Centralized electrification with its big dams, 
big coal-fired plants, and nuclear plants became 
the rage. Indeed, there was an almost religious 
fervor about this vision among leaders and 
technocrats who defined their life's work as 
"missionary electrification" or the connection of 
the most distant village to the central grid. 
Jawaharlal Nehru, the dominant figure in 
post-World War II India, called dams the "temples 
of modern India," a statement that, as Indian 
author Arundhati Roy points out, made its way 
into primary school textbooks in every Indian 
language. Big dams have become an article of 
faith inextricably linked with nationalism. “To 
question their utility amounts almost to 
sedition"<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#16a#16a>16.



In any event, in the name of missionary 
electrification, India's technocrats, Roy 
observes in her brilliant essay, The Cost of 
Living, not only built "new dams and irrigation 
schemes...[but also] took control of small, 
traditional water-harvesting systems that had 
been managed for thousands of years and allowed 
them to 
atrophy"<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#17a#17a>17. 
Here Roy expresses an essential truth: that 
centralized electrification preempted the 
development of alternative power-systems that 
could have been more decentralized, more 
people-oriented, more environmentally benign, and less capital intensive.



The key forces behind central electrification 
were powerful local coalitions of power 
technocrats, big business, and urban-industrial 
elites. Despite the rhetoric about "rural 
electrification," centralized electrification was 
essentially biased toward the city and industry. 
Essentially, especially in the case of dams, it 
involved expending the natural capital of the 
countryside and the forests to subsidize the 
growth urban-based industry. Industry was the 
future. Industry was what really added value. 
Industry was synonymous with national power. Agriculture was the past.



While these interests benefited, others paid the 
costs. Specifically, it was the rural areas and 
the environment that absorbed the costs of 
centralized electrification. Tremendous crimes 
have been committed in the name of power 
generation and irrigation, says Roy, but these 
were hidden because governments never recorded 
these costs. In India, Roy calculates that large 
dams have displaced about 33 million people in 
the last 50 years, about 60 per cent of them 
being either untouchables or indigenous peoples



India, in fact, does not have a national 
resettlement policy for those displaced by dams. 
The costs to the environment have been 
tremendous. Roy points out that "the evidence 
against Big Dams is mounting 
alarmingly--irrigation disasters, dam-induced 
floods, the fact that there are more drought 
prone and flood prone areas today than there were 
in 1947. The fact is that not a single river in 
the plains has potable 
water"<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#18a#18a>18.



Things changed when the government announced its 
plans to dam the mighty Narmada River in the late 
seventies. Instead of quietly accepting the World 
Bank-backed enterprise, the affected people 
mounted a resistance that continues to this day. 
The Narmada Bachao Andolan movement led by Medha 
Patkar at the Sardar Sarovar Dam and Alok 
Aggarwal and Silvi at the Maheshwar Dam drew 
support from all over India and internationally. 
The resistance of the people, most of them 
adivasis or indigenous people, succeeded in 
getting the World Bank to stop funding the 
project and saddling it with delays, making the 
completion of the dam uncertain. The Supreme 
Court, for instance, ordered rehabilitation for 
all those affected by the Sardar Sarovar Dam's 
construction, and in March 2005 ruled to halt 
construction on the dam until this had happened. 
Construction of the dam has now been halted at 
110.6 meters, a figure that is much higher than 
the 88 metres proposed by the activists, and 
lower than the 130 meters that the dam is 
eventually supposed to reach. It is unclear at 
this point what the final outcome of the project 
will be or when it will be completed, though the 
entire project is meant to be finished by 
2025<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#19a#19a>19. 
The fate of the Maheshwar Dam is similarly unclear.



Equally important was the broader political 
impact of the Narmada struggle. It proved to be 
the cutting edge of the social movements that 
have deepened India’s democracy and transformed 
the political scene. The state bureaucracy and 
political parties must now listen to these 
movements or risk opposition or, in the case of 
parties, being thrown out of power. Social 
movements in the rural areas played a key role in 
stirring up the mass consciousness that led to 
the defeat in 2004 of the neoliberal coalition 
led by the Hindu chauvinist BJP (Bharatiya Janata 
Party) that had campaigned on the 
pro-globalization slogan “India Shining.” While 
its successor, the Congress Party-led coalition, 
has turned its back on the rural protest that led 
to its election and followed the same 
anti-agriculture and pro-globalization policies 
of the BJP, it risks provoking an even greater backlash in the near future.



The environmental movement faces its biggest 
challenge today: global warming. As in China, the 
threat is not distant either in space or in time. 
The Mumbai deluge of 2005 came at a year of 
excessive rainfall that would normally occur once 
in a hundred 
years<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#20a#20a>20. 
The Himalayan glaciers have been retreating, with 
one of the largest of them, Gangotri, receding at 
what one journal described as “an alarming rate, 
influencing the stream run-off of Himalayan 
rivers”<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#21a#21a>21. 
Six per cent, or 63.2 million, of India’s 
population live in low elevation coastal zones 
that are vulnerable to sea-level 
rise<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#22a#22a>22. 
On the Gujarat coast, sea level rise is 
displacing villages, as it is many more places 
along India’s 7,500 km-long coastline. One report 
claims that in the “Sunderbans, two islands have 
already vanished from the map, displacing 7000 
people. Twelve more islands are likely to go 
under owing to an annual 3.14 sea level rise, 
which will make 70,000 refugees. Five villages in 
Orissa’s Bhitarkanika National Park, famous for 
the mass nesting of Olive Ridley turtles, have 
been submerged, and 18 others are likely to go 
under”<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#23a#23a>23.



As in China, the challenge lies in building up a 
mass movement that might be unpopular not only 
with the elite but also with sections of the 
urban-based middle class sectors that have been 
the main beneficiaries of the high-growth 
economic strategy that has been pursued since the early 1990’s.



National Elites and Third Worldism



The reason for tracing the evolution of a 
mass-based environmental movement in East Asia 
and India is to counter the image that the Asian 
masses are inert elements that uncritically 
accept the environmentally damaging high-growth 
export-oriented industrialization models promoted 
by their governing elites. It is increasingly 
clear to ordinary people throughout Asia that the 
model has wrecked agriculture, widened income 
inequalities, led to increased poverty after the 
Asian financial crises, and wreaked environmental damage everywhere.



It is the national elites that spout the 
ultra-Third Worldist line that the South has yet 
to fulfill its quota of polluting the world while 
North has exceeded its quota. It is they who call 
for an exemption of the big rapidly 
industrializing countries from mandatory limits 
on the emission of greenhouse gases under a new 
Kyoto Protocol. When the Bush administration says 
it will not respect the Kyoto Protocol because it 
does not bind China and India, and the Chinese 
and Indian governments say they will not tolerate 
curbs on their greenhouse gas emissions because 
the US has not ratified Kyoto, they are in fact 
playing out an unholy alliance to allow their 
economic elites to continue to evade their 
environmental responsibilities and free-ride on the rest of the world.



This alliance has now become formalized in the 
so-called “Asia Pacific Partnership” created last 
year by the US, China, India, Japan, Korea, and 
the United States as a rival to the United 
Nations-negotiated Kyoto Protocol. Having 
recently recruited Canada, which is now led by 
Bush clone Stephen Harper, this grouping seeks 
voluntary, as opposed mandatory curbs on 
greenhouse gas emissions. This is a dangerous 
band of states whose agenda is nothing else than 
to spew carbon as they damn well please, which is 
what voluntary targets are all about.



The Need for Global Adjustment



There is no doubt that the burden of adjustment 
to global warming will fall on the North, and 
that this adjustment will have to be made in the 
next 10 to 15 years, and that the adjustment 
needed might need to be much greater than the 50 
per cent reduction from the 1990’s level by 2050 
that is being promoted by the G 8. In the eyes of 
some experts, what might be required is in the 
order of 100 or 150 per cent reduction from 1990 
levels. However, the South will also have to 
adjust, proportionately less than the North but also rather stringently.



The South’s adjustment will not take place 
without the North taking the lead. But it will 
also not take place unless its leaders junk the 
export-oriented, high-growth paradigm promoted by 
the World Bank and most economists to which its 
elites and many middle strata are addicted.



People in the South are open to an alternative to 
a model of growth that has failed both the 
environment and society. For instance, in 
Thailand, a country devastated by the Asian 
financial crisis and wracked by environmental 
problems, globalization and export-oriented 
growth are now bad words. To the consternation of 
the Economist, Thais are more and more receptive 
to the idea of a “sufficiency economy” promoted 
by popular monarch King Bhumibol, which is an 
inward-looking strategy that stresses 
self-reliance at the grassroots and the creation 
of stronger ties among domestic economic 
networks, along with “moderately working with 
nature” <http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#24a#24a>24.



Thailand may be an exception in terms of the 
leadership role for a more sustainable path 
played by an elite, and even there the commitment 
of that elite to an alternative path is 
questioned by many. What is clear is that in most 
other places in the South, one cannot depend on 
the elites and some sections of the middle class 
to decisively change course. At best, they will 
procrastinate. The fight against global warming 
will need to be propelled mainly by an alliance 
between progressive civil society in the North 
and mass-based citizens’ movements in the South.



As in North, the environmental movements in the 
South have seen their ebbs and flows. It appears 
that, as with all social movements, it takes a 
particular conjunction of circumstances to bring 
an environmental movement to life after being 
quiescent for some time or to transform diverse 
local struggles into one nationwide movement. The 
challenge facing activists in the global North 
and the global South is to discover or bring 
about those circumstances that will trigger the 
formation of a global mass movement that will 
decisively confront the most crucial challenge of our times.



The assistance of my colleagues Afsar Jafri and 
DaleWen in the preparation of this article is 
gratefully acknowledged. They are not, however, 
responsible for any possible errors of fact or interpretation.



Footnotes:



<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#1b#1b>1.i. 
Mohamad Mahathir, Speech at United Nations 
Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, June 13, 1992



<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#2b#2b>2. 
The environmental crisis in Korea is treated at 
length in Walden Bello and Stephanie Rosenfeld, 
Dragons in Distress: Asia’s Miracle Economies in 
Crisis (San Francisco: Food First, 1990), pp. 95-118.



<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#3b#3b>3. 
See ibid., p. 195-214.



<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#4b#4b>4. Ibid, p. 213.



<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#5b#5b>5. 
Frieda Sinanu, “Coming of Age: Indonesia’s 
Environmental Network Faces Dilemmas as it Turns 
25,” Inside Indonesia, 2007; 
<http://insideindonesia.org/content/view/72/29/>http://insideindonesia.org/content/view/72/29/ 




<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#6b#6b>6. 
Interview with Dale Wen, Focus on the Global 
South website, 
<http://www.focusweb.org/interview-with-dale-wen>http://www.focusweb.org/interview-with-dale-wen 




<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#7b#7b>7. Ibid



<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#8b#8b>8. 
Cited in R. Ramachandran, “Coming Storms,” 
Frontline, Vol. 24, No. 7 (April 7-20, 2007); 
<http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl2407/stories/2007042001609000.htm>http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl2407/stories/2007042001609000.htm 




<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#9b#9b>9. Quoted in ibid.



<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#10b#10b>10. 
Email communication, Sept. 25, 2007



<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#11b#11b>11. 
Fred Bergsten et al., China: What the World Needs 
to Know now about the Emerging Superpower 
(Washington: Center for Strategic and 
International Studies and Institute for 
International Economics, 2006), pp. 40-41.



<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#12b#12b>12. 
“Increase in Environmental Unrest Causes 
Instability in China,” Green Clippings, 
<http://www.greenclippings.co.za/gc_main/article.php?story=20060906170952367>http://www.greenclippings.co.za/gc_main/article.php?story=20060906170952367 




<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#13b#13b>13. 
“Bhopal Disaster,” Wikipedia; 
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhopal_Disaster>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhopal_Disaster 




<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#14b#14b>14. 
V. Sridhar Siddharth Narrain, “A Tempered Patents 
Regime,” Frontline, Vol. 22, No. 8 (2005); 
<http://www.flonnet.com/fl2208/stories/20050422004602800.htm>http://www.flonnet.com/fl2208/stories/20050422004602800.htm 




<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#15b#15b>15. Ibid



<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#16b#16b>16. 
Arundhati Roy, The Cost of Living (London: Flamingo, 1999)



<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#17b#17b>17. Ibid.



<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#18b#18b>18. Ibid



<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#19b#19b>19. 
“Narmada River,”Wikipedia; 
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narmada_River>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narmada_River 




<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#20b#20b>20. 
R. Ramachandran, “Himalayan Concerns,” Frontline, 
Vol. 24, No. 4 (2007); 
<http://www.flonnet.com/fl2404/stories/20070309006201000.htm>http://www.flonnet.com/fl2404/stories/20070309006201000.htm 




<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#21b#21b>21. Ibid.



<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#22b#22b>22. 
R. Ramachandran, “Coming Storms
”



<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#23b#23b>23. 
Dionne Busha, “Gone with the Waves,” Frontline, 
Vol. 24, No. 14 (2007); 
<http://www.fllonnet.com/fl2414/stories/20070727000206600.htm>http://www.fllonnet.com/fl2414/stories/20070727000206600.htm 




<http://www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?act_id=17458#24b#24b>24. 
Thailand Human Development Report 2007: 
Sufficiency Economy and Human Development 
(Bangkok: United Nations Development Program, 2007), pp. 48-49.







Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

www.Freedomarchives.org  
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://freedomarchives.org/pipermail/news_freedomarchives.org/attachments/20071013/473c6863/attachment.html>


More information about the News mailing list