13 May 2006

Slightly crazy guys

Here is a quotation from Hugo Blanco about the environmentalism of the poor and makes us think about the green politics of Latin America, in January when I visited a ecological high school outside of Caracas, one of the Columbian's visiting with us on the World Social Forum bus said that if Columbian peasants undertook ecological projects they would simply by shot.

Liberation in Latin America has an environmental dimension, any way see you at the Chavez rally tomorrow.

At first sight, environmentalists or conservationists are nice, slightly crazy guys whose main purpose in life is to prevent the disappearance of blue whales or pandas. The common people have more important things to think about, for instance how to get their daily bread. […] However, there are in Peru a very large number of people who are environmentalists […] they might reply, ‘ecologist your mother’, or words to that effect. […] Are not the town of Ilo and the surrounding villages which are being polluted by the Southern Peru Copper Corporation truly environmentalist? Is not the village of Tambo Grande in Pirura environmentalist when it rises like a closed fist and is ready to die in order to prevent strip-mining in its valley? Also, the people of the Mantaro Valley who saw their little sheep die, because of the smoke and waste from La Oroya smelter. (Hugo Blanco quoted in Guha and Martinez-Alier 1997: 24)

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