Struggles for the Forests
When corporations destroy forests, or restrict or even prohibit access to forest peoples' territories, they place communities' ways of life and their very existence at risk. WRM supports forest peoples' struggles to defend their territories, and their right to decide how to live, and how to use the forests they depend on.
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The inter-dependencies in and among communities with their life spaces and practices sheds light to the conservation practices of forest communities. And within these interdependencies lie the stories of women.
The indigenous Ngäbe-Buglé people had to endure brutal repression to avoid the onslaught on their territories. They managed to get the Government to ban mining and hydroelectric dams in their territory. However, another intense onslaught came from conservationist NGOs.
Martin Khor (1951-2020), Third World Network's Chairman and former Director, passed away on 1 April 2020 in his home in Penang, Malaysia. Martin was one of the founders of the WRM.
Oil multinational Shell claims that it is possible that consumers drive “carbon neutral”, simply by paying extra for offsetting their emissions - planting trees or investing in existing forest areas elsewhere. But what is happening in those areas elsewhere? (Available in Indonesian).
What are the experiences of communities living inside or adjacent to the plantation areas of companies with “zero deforestation” pledges? How can these companies continue expanding without deforesting in densely forested countries?
Plantation companies often argue that local populations are destroying the forests, particularly where people depend on firewood and/or charcoal for their energy needs. Thus, they argue, industrial plantations can “sustainably” provide this wood. But this is simply not true.
Women’s struggle for full and dignified recognition of their lives and territories starts with not allowing the extractive model to progress. However, it must be resolved by the need for women to be able to make decisions to strengthen collective political control.
While it was easy to see the smoke from the forest fires in Brazil, it was much harder to see what was behind the Brazilian government’s smokescreen: actions that will lead the rainforest to a swift death, destroying territories, livelihoods and the diverse cultures.