From Yes! magazine (and thanks to Owen White):
“Just a few years ago, the term “green economy” referred to economies that are locally based, climate friendly, and low-impact. But since the global economic meltdown began in 2007, the green economy has come to mean something more akin to the wholesale privatization of nature. This green economy is about putting a price on natural cycles through a controversial set of policies called “Payments for Ecosystem Services”—an approach to greening capitalism that some liken to a tiger claiming to turn vegetarian.
Rather than reducing pollution and consumption, protecting the territorial rights of land-based peoples, and promoting local initiatives that steward resources for future generations, the approach is doing the opposite: promoting monoculture tree plantations, trade in pollution credits, and the establishment of speculative markets in biodiversity and forests, all of which threaten to displace land-based communities.
A report by Ecosystem Marketplace, the leading purveyor of ‘Payments for Ecosystem Services,’ lays out the green economy argument: ‘Ecosystems provide trillions of dollars in clean water, flood protection, fertile lands, clean air, pollination, disease control. … So how do we secure this enormously valuable infrastructure and its services? The same way we would electricity, potable water, or natural gas. We pay for it.’
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), among the chief proponents of the green economy, says this approach will result in ‘improved well-being and social equity while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.’ The World Bank, also promoting the green economy, says, ‘Natural capital accounting would add to our national GDPs the wealth stored in our natural resources: minerals before they are mined, forests before they are felled, water while it is still in the rivers.’
But, for social movements, land-based communities, and indigenous peoples, the question is, who really pays? For what are they paying? And, most poignantly, since when has nature, the source of all life, been reduced to a service-provider?
One concern is that this new green economy is a form of ‘disaster capitalism’—a global effort to put the ‘services’ of nature into the same hands that caused the global financial meltdown. And that seems like a very, very bad idea.”
Read the rest here.