Settler colonialism, and the capitalism that accompanied it, is not only responsible for slavery and the genocide of Indigenous peoples. One of the major effects on the environment was treating it as a commodity or proper that people could own. Most Indigenous people recognized the living environment as a collection of interconnected beings, which is why the most effective protections of the ecosystem and biodiversity are found in areas controlled by Indigenous people.
Colonialism is a major cause of global warming & climate disruption as well as biodiversity loss and the ‘Sixth Great Extinction’. In many ways, it continues today — as ‘climate colonialism’ or ‘carbon colonialism’.
The first type of climate colonialism is financing projects in the Global South that will allow them to reduce GHG emissions or adapt to the ravages of climate destruction. Since the actions of the wealthier countries created the need, loaning money to the poorer Global South countries does not count as the type of climate funding owed by wealthier countries. The ‘Key Takeaways‘ page in the Indigenous Environmental’s ‘Climate Finance‘ describes some of the reasons.
The second type of climate colonialism is when nations in the North outsource manufacturing to the Global South and then import goods produced there, reducing their own emissions and increasing emissions in the poor country. (The GHG from the manufacturing process is thus counted against the poor country, not the wealthier countries that import the products.) In GHG accounting, it’s important to make sure upstream [‘Scope 3’] emissions are included, because these embodied emissions were, in effect, created for those who purchase and use the products.
- Climate Finance. Indigenous Environmental Network. — What is climate finance and what is meant by the ‘financialization of climate’? [You can also download this as a PDF: Climate Finance.]
- Carbon Colonialism. George Monbiot.— Predatory corporations are making a mockery of natural climate solutions, as they grab land and bamboozle the public. (January 2022)
- Carbon colonialism must be challenged if we want to make climate progress. Laurie Parsons. The Conversation (December2021).
- Carbon Colonialism: Cheap Fix: The rush to make profits out of carbon-fixing engenders another kind of colonialism. Centre for Science and Environment
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