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resource wars

Bolivia, Brazil and South America’s never-ending resource curse

From The Intercept: Anthropologist and Bolivia scholar Bret Gustafson offers a nuanced analysis of how the coup in Bolivia unfolded, who benefits from the present crisis, and what is at stake for the overwhelmingly indigenous population. Also, Glenn Greenwald talks about his recent conversation with Brazil’s former president Lula, who was recently released from prison.

A zero sum game: The rail projects that spell doom for the Cauvery

The fracas over water sharing has obscured the fact that the Cauvery itself is facing a major threat: two railway lines to be constructed through Kodagu, the forested hill district where the river originates. A river’s fate – and those of the millions that depend on it – now hangs in balance, writes Chirag Chinnappa.

The oil economics and land-grab politics behind the Rohingya genocide

Ethnic differences have been widely considered the cause of the Rohingya genocide. However, these reports show that the killings and forced displacement of several of Myanmar’s minority communities may also be fuelled by global corporations’ growing interest in the Rakhine’s mineral wealth, and the competing geopolitical interests of the United States, China, India and Bangladesh.

Sand mining: the global environmental crisis you’ve probably never heard of

From The Guardian: Cities are expanding at a pace and scale far greater than at any time in history. The global urbanisation boom is devouring colossal amounts of sand–the key ingredient of concrete and asphalt. In the past few years, China alone has used more cement than the US used in the entire 20th century.

Is the fight over a gas pipeline fuelling the world’s bloodiest conflict?

With the U.S. and Russia headed for a direct confrontation in Syria, the war in that country is moving a new, more dangerous phase. The Syrian war often seems like a big confusing mess but one factor that’s not often mentioned could be the key to unlocking the conflict: the struggle to control energy markets.

How to steal a river: New York Times on India’s rampant sand mining

The hundreds of millions of Indians migrating from villages to cities require up to a billion square yards of new real estate development annually. Current construction already draws more than 800 million tons of sand every year, mostly from India’s waterways. All the people I spoke to assumed that much of it is taken illegally.

Himanshu Thakkar on India’s river battles

The Modi government had come with the promise of a better future for India’s rivers. Unfortunately, the promise remains unfulfilled, and there seems to be no roadmap in sight for our rivers. There’s nothing in the policies, plans or projects of the current government that would provide any ray of hope, now or in future.

Soon, we may not have a Cauvery river to fight over

Nityanand Jayaraman writes: The complexity of river systems, the hydrological dynamics that determine their ebb and flow, and anthropogenic confounders such as land-use change and climate change had no influence on the tribunal order… Today’s planners try to spare water for ecological flows, not realising that ecological flows are what keep the river a river.

India can avoid future water wars by mixing old and new solutions

Chetan Chauhan reports: Maharashtra and Rajasthan have started community based Jal Swabhilambhan schemes that give ownership of government-aided watershed management to the communities. “We just aid and assist the villagers in creating durable water assets. The villages decide what they want,” said Sriram Vedire of Rajasthan Water Authority, who initiated the programme in early 2016.

Video & Report: Cauvery face-off puts spotlight on water wars

Live Mint reports: This is not a one-off dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu— the latest flare-up puts the spotlight on the growing incidence of water wars among states and, in some instances, within regions in a state. Riparian states warring over water is not new— nearly every river in the Indian subcontinent is contested.

The culling of wild animals herald future water wars in India

Peter Smetacek writes: Culling wild animals that have come to depend on agriculture for sustenance is only a short-term measure. This was portrayed as a man-animal conflict rather than what it actually is: the conversion of our forests from rich storehouses of bio-diversity to green deserts by a combination of mismanagement, political expediency and ignorance.

Bookshelf: Blood Red River: A Journey Into The Heart Of India’s Development Conflict

In this excerpt from his new book, published by Hachette India, Rohit Prasad looks at the roles of the different players in the battle between Adivasis, Maoist rebels, corrupt bureaucrats and hungry corporations, concluding that the situation is one of “cooperative plunder”, where two apparently antagonistic forces align for the purpose of siphoning away resources.

The only sustainable growth is de-growth!

Alberto Acosta writes: Mainstream thinking – embedded within capitalist globalisation – makes us accept the impossibility of imagining an economy that does not promote economic growth, as much as a world without oil, mining and agribusiness is impossible. Within this mainstream thinking, we can find people from every political and ideological stance, from neoliberals to socialists.

Arms, Agribusiness, Finance and Fossil Fuels: The Four Horsemen of the Neoliberal Apocalypse

Colin Todhunter writes: There is a notion that we can just continue as we are, with an endless supply of oil, endless supplies of meat and endless assault on soil, human and environmental well-being that intensive petrochemical agriculture entails. Given the statistics, this is unsustainable, unrealistic and a recipe for continued resource-driven conflicts and devastation.

News update

India’s 100 GW Solar Target Could Create 1 Million Jobs by 2022 The Energy Collective Delhi is abuzz as the first renewable energy-financing summit organized by the Indian government, RE-Invest 2015, wrapped up with commitments totaling a whopping 266 GW of renewable energy in the next 5 years. For context of the magnitude of these