Trapped in the Greenhouse?

Photo by 大爷 您 on Unsplash
Photo by 大爷 您 on Unsplash

Translated by Awasqa. SOURCE:

“To address the root causes of environmental and climate injustices, we must confront four centuries of colonial-imperialism, ongoing patriarchal and white supremacist oppression, and today’s extreme neoliberal, globalized, industrial capitalist expansion.”

This is how the introduction of “Hoodwinked in the Hothouse” begins, which was prepared as an activist training document by a wide group of indigenous, social, rural, urban, and environmental grassroots organizations in North America, including the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Global Justice Ecology Project, the Energy Justice Network, the Just Transition Alliance, and others.

More than a decade ago they set out to explain environmental and climate injustices in simple language, revealing the scheming of companies and governments via so-called “false solutions”: technological, nature and financial proposals, which are not “solutions” at all but are designed to manipulate and do exactly the opposite: avoid exposing the root causes of environmental injustice, much less change them. And come up. by the way,  with new enterprises through these dishonest mechanisms.

Now, the third revised and augmented edition of “Hoodwinked” has been published by this organizations’ collective, which is especially useful given the upcoming UN meeting in Glasgow (COP 26), when we will soon be inundated with catastrophic and misleading headlines.

The bottom line of the organizations’ work is much more than a reaction to capitalist proposals on the climate. From the start, they mention their intent of providing a critique of colonialism, patriarchy, and implicit racism. This collective material focuses on reviewing a vast list of false climate “solutions,” as part of the information we need to understand and resist the many pitfalls of capitalism. From years-old proposals to more recent ones, the book briefly presents what each proposal or technology is about, its impacts, and why we must resist them. It takes on problems like carbon pricing, so-called “nature-based solutions”, bioenergy, the extraction and burning of natural gas and fracking, the production of energy from hydrogen, from landfills, from waste incineration, nuclear energy, hydropower, geoengineering techniques, carbon capture and also the problems with renewable energy. In the latter case, particularly when these are run by companies instead of a resource under management of communities and peoples, based on the knowledge they have of the environment.

It is very useful material in the maelstrom of issues we have to face, and includes concise, solid information to guide us with a helping hand in the darkness of this theater of false climate “solutions.” Especially when the debates around the climate continue to grow and there are more and more terms designed to keep us from understanding what is really happening or make us believe that global warming can be solved with their high-risk proposals.

As the collective editorial goes on to explain, this book is a bit like entering Pandora’s box of fake climate proposals designed to profit from crises, but useful to understand them and resist them.

They also reflect on the years since they published the first edition. “We are also seeing an alarming tendency towards ‘politics of desperation’ in some sectors of the climate movement, where opportunistic disaster capitalism coupled with a myopic carbon reductionism, the financialization of nature and a growing techno-utopianism, has driven a proliferation of false, climate profiteering schemes. Even the symbolic Paris Agreement that was adopted by the United Nations in 2015 has largely served to enable and advance a host of corporate technology scams, carbon market mechanisms, and carbon taxes being falsely posited as solutions in recent years.”

But they also add,

“More than ever before, the center-of-gravity of the climate movements have shifted to a climate justice narrative– where we do not distinguish between the global war on biodiversity waged by corporate greed and the wars waged against the cultures, cosmologies, communities and bodies of oppressed peoples worldwide.”

When the problem is framed under the premise of climate justice, the climate crisis is no longer reduced to the simple fact of counting carbon. “Grassroots, community-led movements around the world look across the economy – at the exploitation of land, labor and living systems; at the erosion of seed, soil, story and spirit, and seek to lift up real solutions around us everyday – from Indigenous Traditional Knowledge, food sovereignty, decommodification of land, healthcare and housing; to abolishing the military industrial complex seeking to extract the last dregs of fossil fuel from Mother Earth. From just transition and energy democracy where democratized, decentralized, detoxified and decarbonized energy powers our lives; to transformative justice, where we respond to violence and trauma with compassion and healing. “The book and videos on the subject can be downloaded from the site , to which other materials will be added.

Silvia Ribeiro is the Latin America Director for ETC group. She is based in Mexico. She has a background as a journalist and environmental campaigner in Uruguay, Brazil, and Sweden. She has extensive experience in social and environmental advocacy. As a civil society representative, she has attended and followed the negotiations of several of United Nations environmental treaties. She has also been an invited speaker at many civil society events around the world speaking on transgenic and other new technologies, corporate concentration, intellectual property, indigenous and farmers' rights. Silvia has also produced a number of articles related to these issues, that have been published in Latin American, European, and North American magazines and papers, as well as chapters in several books. She is a member of the editorial committee of the Latin American magazine "Biodiversidad, sustento y culturas", published by Alianza Biodiversidad: Grain, ETC Group (México), Acción Ecológica (Ecuador), Campaña Semillas (Colombia), La Vía Campesina, Campaña de la semilla (Chile), Centro Ecológico (Brazil), Sobrevivencia (Paraguay), Acción por la Biodiversidad (Argentina), Red de Coordinación en Biodiversidad (Costa Rica).