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Environmental Activists Call for End to ‘Green Colonialism’

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Environmental Activists Call for End to ‘Green Colonialism’

By Stella Peters

Environmental activists and scholars have decried the promotion of false solutions in countries across the Global South. Extractivism and false solutions benefit profit-making groups to the detriment of the people.

Environmental activist noted their position during a book presentation and dialogue titled ‘The Geopolitics of Green Colonialism: Global Justice and Ecosocial Transitions’ publicly presented in Lagos by Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF).

The book provides the platform for voices conspicuously absent in debates around energy and climate in the global north and the discussion about the geopolitics of transition, which implies sacrificing territories and genuinely sustainable ways of inhabiting.

The Executive Director of HOMEF, Dr Nnimmo Bassey, explained that green colonialism is still a problem worldwide, especially in the Global South. “The view of Africa as a vast landscape with limitless resources to be exploited got rigidly entrenched in the colonial mindset and drove concepts of conservation that ignored the true cause of the degradation that unfolded from their mindless exploitation and consumption.”

Dr Bassey said, “Climate action has become climate fiction,” adding that some of the targets for climate solutions are being moved to decades ahead, which means the “youths will be the ones to bear the burden later in the future.”

Speaking on false solutions, Prof Breno Bringel, a Brazilian activist-scholar and contributor to the book, shared that “green extractivism is the name given to new extractive ventures that disrupt ecosystems and communities in order to provide resources to companies and countries for climate change mitigation and adaptation policies.”

Bringel noted that green extractivism does not address the root cause because it isolates the need for decarbonisation from nature’s metabolism.

He stressed that it is essential to unmask the concept of green colonialism, the impacts on countries across the Global South, and for people to understand its hypocrisy.

Miriam Lang, an activist academic and Professor of Environment and Sustainability from Ecuador, said Global Power countries have turned countries in the Global South into dumpsites of energy transitions, with Africa becoming ‘the destination of digital trash.”

Lang recommended systemic alternatives because, according to her, “the crises that we are facing are not only ecological, it is also political.”

Rowland Ngam, a Climate Justice Activist, spoke about the alternatives that exist and the need for people to “start demanding reparation, and the reparation does not have to be money; it can be done in the form of investments and infrastructure that can benefit everybody.”

He also charged members of the public to see climate issues as everyday issues so that they are inspired to take action to keep their environment safe.

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