Archive: Environmental Justice

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Not as visible as two weeks ago but still there: the garbage crisis. Some garbage has been removed, but what to do in the long run seems still a mystery.

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Let us imagine for a moment that we could change the world according to our wishes. Dramatic economic inequality gives way to social and political inclusion. Universal human rights become a reality. We end deforestation and the destruction of arable land. Fish stocks recover. Two billion people look forward to a life without poverty, hunger, and violence.

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Some seek to establish tradable prices for ecosystem services, claiming that markets can achieve what politics has not. However, such an approach collapses nature’s complex functions into a set of commodities stripped from their social, cultural, and ecological context and can pose a threat to the poor and indigenous communities who depend on the land for their livelihood.

Factory-style livestock production is a critical driver of agricultural industrialization. Its remorseless expansion is contributing to climate change, deforestation, biodiversity loss, and human-rights violations – all to satisfy Western societies’ unhealthy appetite for cheap meat. 

The Heinrich Böll Stiftung, represented through its offices in Ramallah, Beirut, Tunis, and Rabat in cooperation with the International Union for Conservation of Nature / Regional Office for West Asia (IUCN ROWA), will be hosting a regional Autumn School “Natural Resource Rights in the Arab Middle East and North Africa” in Amman, Jordan from November 23 – 27, 2014.

In this Memorandum the notion of new politics is introduced to look at current conflicts around resource use as a complex set of interactions between nature, humans, interests, power relations and cultures. With this text the Heinrich Böll Foundation offers a perspective which combines democracy, ecology and human rights and lays out fundamental ways forward that can form the basis for fair and sustainable Resource Politics.

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Negotiators are into the second and final week of the climate change conference in Warsaw, yet have been unable, so far, to set down even the first letter of the international agreement which is due to be tabled in Paris in late 2015.

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Philippines being hit by a typhoon of unprecedented ferocity and the resulting human and material disaster, which led many conference speakers to amend their speeches in the early days of the COP 19, using the tragedy to demand that a new international agreement be reached before 2015 to reduce the incidence of such events.

 

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The Polish capital, Warsaw, was today (16 November 2013) the scene of a protest in which activists from the UN’s climate change conference joined forces with the Polish Green party and Leftist parties and labour unions from across the world.

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UN negotiations over climate change in Polish capital Warsaw are expected to create a roadmap of international treaties that all parties are expected to sign in 2015, in Paris. All participants agree that the first week of the 19th COP has shown “modest progress”.

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How to approach a city like Beirut? By its history, its economic meaning, its art scene, its people? On the search for a city’s identity, many of its facets are revealed in certain places, namely the city’s public spaces.

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Guerrilla Picnicking: How hbs partner organization Nahnoo fights for Lebanese citizens' accesss to public green space.

Dr. Ali Darwish explains in an interview how an environmental NGO in Lebanon can make a difference. This year, hbs celebrates 10 years of cooperation with Green Line.

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Despite the proceedings of the Doha Climate Change Conference (COP 18) running a full day over their scheduled two week cut off, the nations of the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) failed to come up with anything either new or meaningful. Doha ended as Durban had a year before: a commitment to extend the Kyoto Treaty and laying the ground for a new agreement to be brought in by 2015.

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Every year the countries of the world - with the support of a number of scholars, specialists and members of civil society - gather at a giant meeting organized by the United Nations to negotiate the measures that shall be taken to address the risks of climate change. But what matters in this context is that usually the host country that chairs the conference bears the largest burden for its success. Was Doha ready for this challenge?

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Doha ended as Durban had a year before: a commitment to extend the Kyoto Treaty (which, since its signatories produce less than 15 per cent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, mean to has little to offer the cause of climate change) and laying the ground for a new agreement to be brought in by 2015.

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With the 18th round of the Conference of Parties (COP 18) due to be held in Doha—the first time such proceedings have been hosted in an Arab country—many questions are raised over the long-term visions, expectations, capabilities and true positions of the nations taking part. What will the official Lebanese delegation bring to Doha? How has Lebanon prepared itself to deal with climate change and, more specifically, with negotiations over the issue, after pledging back in 2009 in Copenhagen to generate 12 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources?

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Large-scale wind farms and solar power plants are springing up everywhere one looks. That’s good for the climate, but small-scale farmers and the poor are becoming the pawns of hard-nosed business interests around the world.

On 31 May 2012, after a press conference entitled “Figures, Dates, and Facts about the June 2012 Rio Summit: A Green Economy – Silver Bullet or Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?”, Barbara Unmüßig, a long time environmentalist and co-president of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, spoke with the online news website Schattenblick.

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Climate policy active NGOs and movements are fragmented and characterized by heterogeneous interests. Cleavages exist in important issues and the choice of strategies. A discussion of complementary strategies and division of labor is an urgent need.

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Worldwide, the inexorable growth of the tourism sector with its high demand for land and other resources has reignited the debate about the environmental impact of tourism. Given the number of natural attractions in Lebanon on the one hand and the fact that its tourism development is only beginning anew on the other hand, it offers a rare opportunity to sufficiently consider, at least in theory, the interrelations of climate change and tourism from the onset.

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Years of drought have affected the eastern and northeastern regions of Syria, which are also known as the Syrian “peninsula” or “jazira”, which is considered the (agricultural) backbone of the country, the drought has led to a significant reduction in agricultural production in this area and consequently a decline in the national economy. One of the major consequences of the drought is that it has driven the majority of the population from this area towards the interior governorates in Syria where people have gone in search of a livelihood and shelter. This internal migration has also produced many humanitarian, social and health problems.

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While a number of countries slid into recession during the year 2008, Lebanon witnessed spectacular economic growth rates. Most of the growth is, however, due to the recent boom in the construction sector. Not only is this development over-heated, it is also largely taking place without any planning, or the implementation of state or communal regulations.