Friday, August 31, 2007

Give us the money or the rainforest gets it!

A couple of interesting articles in the papers today. First this one:

Oil has been pumped from here for almost four decades and the result, say environmentalists, is 1,700 square miles of industrial contamination, with rivers poisoned, wildlife wiped out and humans falling sick.

But now, mindful of the environmental and political cost, the state has made a startling proposal: if wealthy nations pay Ecuador $350m (£174m) a year - half of the estimated revenue - it will leave the oil in the ground.

Supporters say it is an idea whose time has come, a logical step forward from carbon offsetting in which rich polluters in developed countries compensate for environmental damage caused by their consumer habits.

Since it was first floated in June there have been promising signals, said Alberto Acosta, a former mining minister and close ally of President Rafael Correa. The German and Norwegian governments have expressed interest, as have parliamentarians from Italy, Spain and the European Union. "This could be a historic accommodation," he said. Donors could pay in cash, debt relief or other indirect ways.

Some greens champion the proposal as a way to protect biodiversity and combat global warming while allowing a poor country to develop. "It's not utopian, it's realistic," said Esperanza Martínez, of the Quito-based Acción Ecológica.

But others are sceptical. They predict that rich countries will not stump up the money and that Ecuador's government will ultimately find its oil bounty too tempting to pass up. The government and oil companies are already eyeing another chunk of Amazonian rainforest, the Yasuni national park, a Unesco-designated biosphere reserve. Beneath part of the 982,000-hectare (2.45m-acre) park lie the Ishpingo Tambococha Tiputini oilfields, with an estimated 1bn barrels of heavy crude. For the cash-strapped government this is a tempting bounty potentially worth up to $700m a year.

Then this piece on fair trade:

ETHICAL consumerism has grown so fast that supermarkets are fighting to have the shiniest halo, increasing eco-friendly lines and labelling the source of products more clearly.

But while the latest must-have accessory is a social conscience, ethical buying is still in its infancy when it comes to fashion. UK consumers spent £5 million on Fairtrade cotton goods last year - a good start, but a tiny faction of the £300m spent on other Fairtrade goods.

High Street clothing is becoming cheaper, placing pressure on suppliers to produce our jeans and T-shirts at a greater cost to the environment and to their often exploited workforce. And for what? Half a million tonnes of unwanted clothing end up in landfill sites across Britain each year.


Anonymous michael greenwell said...

ethical consumerism is like a sticking plaster over a bullet wound

i have been contributing to a new blog about some of these problems and would love it if you took a look

it is and if you have time then please read the "why" section.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Kebz said...

I would say it is more like cannibals dressing their food with spinach leaf in an attempt to appear vegetarian.

I took a lot at that blog Michael, but it seems to be blank at the moment. I don't know if it is a technical problem at my end but I don't see anything, apart from the heading and profile on the right.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Kebz said...

Aha, I figured it out. You gave me the wrong url. The real one is

I did like that 'why' section.

6:35 PM  

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