Global climate crisis is nurtured through innumerable small human capital and greed driven actions detrimental to the planet earth, particularly the survival of human species. The hostile ecological changes that are unfolding are a result of degraded political practices directed towards exploitation of nature to harvest increasing expectations of profits. Myriad of small greed oriented small actions across the globe – particularly amongst the high consuming urban communities and financial institutions such as banks and share holders has created this global crisis. The focus of crisis very often gets reflected in the form of rise in water levels that are leading towards submergence of coastal areas and island across the globe. The deeper engine of crisis is very often camouflaged and remains away from public discourse and public scrutiny. The rising conflicts at the source of minerals are often looked upon in isolation and are not connected to the growth mania of various countries of the world in Europe,
This paper attempts to capture this unfolding dynamic reality of ecological changes and suggest political necessaries to seriously and urgently address the situation in the context of open cast iron ore, manganese and bauxite mining in
Crisis of ecology as crisis of polity
The most direct unfolding crisis of ecology is the brutal assault of industry over the western ghats forest in
Lets look at the factual position based on statistical co-relations prepared by Ramesh Gauns.
In Canacona the taluka’s total area is 352.04 square kilometers. Out of which forest covers 281.60 square kilometers. Orchard land is 3.70 square kilometers. Area under water bodies is 4.75 square kilometers. There are 2 mining leases in this taluka.
Sanguem taluka is biggest taluka of
Neighboring taluka of Ponda has a total land of 292.78 square kilometers. Out of this 53.69 square kilometers of land is under
Bicholim taluka that has witnessed mining onslaught for the past over half a century has a total area of 238.80 square kilometers with forest covering 12.20 square kilometers and orchards covering 119.43 square kilometers. Water bodies cover 5.70 square kilometers. And there are 125 mining leases in this taluka.
Sattari taluka has the total area of 489.46 square kilometers. Out of which 278.40 square kilometers is forest land and 118.11 square kilometers is orchard land. 12.36 square kilometers of land is covered by water bodies. This taluka has 81 mining leasese.
All the above are Western Ghats talukas in Goa and together they cover 1687.12 square kilometers of land of which 1130.47 square kilometers is forest land out of Goa’s total forest land of 1360.24 square kilometers, and 271.49 square kilometers is land under orchards. Total area under water bodies is 55.90 square kilometers. These
It may be of some interest to place these statistics with wider statistical context in terms of State of
This is clearly an indication of how dangerous situation
The ecological crises however are just not unfolding due to natural occurrences in nature although this too is the case. Mining of minerals fundamentally triggers the crisis in polity. It begins from the tagging of minerals underground as “resources”. This reference is very widely prevalent and has inherent inbuilt aggression. It robs the values of minerals for the sake of them where they are located and their role in shaping the locality and wider surrounding in the way it is. The word “resources” also injects a value loaded idea towards the mineral deposits. It values the minerals for their use value not as they existed for millions of years underground but as in terms of its use value for industry. The value is then calculated in monetary terms.
“This is visibly very clear in case of
According to the selected statistics (Amended upto March 31, 2009) on Goan Mineral Ore Exports Compiled by Goa Mineral Ore Exporters’ Association Goa’s exports particularly of
Mining companies involved in Goan Iron
Sesa Goa limited – owned by British corporate Vedanta that is listed on London stock exchange and funded by large number of banks and shareholders world over - has topped the list of exporters with total of 10,345,020 tonnes of export of Iron Ore. Out this 8,977,723 tonnes exported to
Audoot Timblo who filed defamation suit of Rs.500 crore against the author of this paper – Sebastian Rodrigues - at Calcutta High Court in December 2008 citing that his writings at GAKUVED blog www.mandgoa.blogspot.com has caused loss of business and existence of Fomento group is in danger if his writings continues has three mining companies in his kitty. The first one is Sociedade de Fomento Indl P. ltd that exported 2,348,970 tonnes to
In order to sustain this exports tirade
Number of voices has cropped up recently highlighting that all is not well with open cast mining industry in Goa and in fact it is rapidly destroying not only the backbone of the local people’s economy i.e. agriculture, but also causing irreversible ecological changes with long term unforeseen consequences. Due to inherent rush of the China boom and lure of foreign currency mining companies are in competition with each other to transform Goa into a desert – all of them working at breath neck speed. This is duly facilitated by mechanized nature of the mining industry with latest sophisticated machinery waging a war against nature and humanity in
Crisis of Economy
It is clear that crisis in ecology and crisis in polity are increasingly manifesting itself on the theatre of economy. Economy in both the macro as well as micro sense. At macro level massive beneficiaries has been the mining companies. Their incomes from mining in Goa are several time higher than income of the State of
At a micro level employment in terms of trucks for villagers has created a arrogant lobby arguing for the mining industry. Their logic is driven by crisis of economy. Their most often repeated argument on the streets with the protestor is that they have taken loans to buy trucks. And in order to pay loans they need to keep their trucks employed with mining companies. Or if protestors feel that they should stop mining transportation then the protestors must pay the loans of the trucks to the banks. The role of banks as large scale behind the curtain beneficiary becomes evident here. The long term interests of sustenance of the life support systems that are rooted in ecology are carefully overlooked.
Humanity suffers at this juncture suffer another major division. Climate crisis often referred as caused by human action. But the major chunk of crisis has been driven by the business houses and the industry. This is also the case of
One of the formidable challenges today has been to overcome the crisis in ecology, crisis in polity as well as crisis in economy. The fundamental paradigms shifts are necessary in the way the life is approached. Not just the life of human species but essential understanding of life support systems on wider canvass. The idea that human species is superior to all other species has to be questioned as human species cannot survive alone by itself. It needs all the known and unknown forces of universe to make itself viable on earth. The idea that human beings – particularly those who uphold private ownership of nature ideology is essentially defective. In fact this is a crisis of understanding that is fuelled by greed and insecurity. This situation gets aggravated when these mindset people takes control of the State and begin to further re-inforce this ideology with State apparatus that includes monopoly over instruments, agencies and justifications for violence. This has largely been the case of
Metal Sensitivity – need for sustainable futures
While there has been a large amount of disruption of life and life supporting systems due to rampant mining activities, the aspect of consumption pattern - particularly of metals - has remained largely unaddressed amongst the milieu seeking to do way with anti-sustainable development patterns in operation. The daily routine of battle largely kept theoretical understanding of countering the exploitative process at the source of mining activities viz. stopping the operation of mines, campaigning against police repression on protestors etc something that is so necessary too.
However, those who are the consumers of the products from the mined minerals such as
Consumption of Costly cars is another fad of the burgeoning global middle that is growing in leaps and bound
There is also need to be sensitive towards various daily use gadgets made up of metals and dependent upon electricity that is rapidly finding its ways in consumption patterns. Metal gadgets are entering the household consumption agendas in the same way that plastic entered household agendas by destroying
Construction industry uses huge amount of metal in the process. Moreover the construction as an industry – also known as real estate industry has transformed itself into profit driven industry. It is engaged in the project of housing and luxury hotel projects that are for the consumption of high spending upper and middle classes. There is a need for critical question on the entire matrix of Construction industry. There is a need to understand the magnitude of metal consumption at various levels by this industry.
There is also need to be metal sensitive when it comes to global war industry. The triple humiliating aspect of this industry is that first, it is an industry that is designed to kill human being in variety of ways, secondly, it is one of the largest consumers of metals and thereby ensures steady demand for ore and profitability of the mining industry. Thirdly, it is principally and legitimately financed through public funding by various state agencies. Consent is manufactured to legitimize this industry in the name of law and order and nationalism. Military agencies that includes Army, Navy and Air force of various individual countries as well as international agencies such as NATO, use large amount of metals for their various consumption needs such as trucks, tankers, ships, guns, bullets, protective gears, missiles, various kinds of ammunitions etc. Numbers of States are responsible for creation and promotion of non-state actors to engage in violence so that war industry continuously floats in profits through various kinds of conflicts all over the world. Peace and understanding is essentially valid option in the interest of sustainable future so that abuse of metals by war industry can be restricted. The metal sensitivity in war industry is all the more needed here due to one additional reason too. Number of countries has been considering nuclear option in war. This has led to creation of large networks of nuclear mines, nuclear plants, Military and Science. It is almost a nexus as the nuclear industry has managed to get itself state protection in number of countries and lage amount of public funding is directed towards building steady supply lines and utmost preparedness for nuclear attacks on so-called enemy country. This has been the phenomena especially after the Second World War when
Even independent of war industry nuclear industry must be targeted even for civilian purposes. Nuclear mining is one of the most dangerous mining industries causing radioactive hazards. The worst case of nuclear mining in
Metal sensitivity is largely being able to be aware of once choices of consumption, one being able to critique and reflect on prevailing pattern of consumption related to metals, being able to reach out and connect with consuming classes and begin process of honest and frank communication, being able to decipher between need based consumption and greed based consumption, being able to willing to make serious effort to search for alternatives and challenge the profit based metal consumption to be replaced by need based metal consumption. To be able to connect loss of livelihood of the indigenous communities in Goa, Jharkhand, Orissa and other places in India, Philippines, Bolivia, East Timor and mines in other parts of the World to global consumption patterns based on overexploitation. It also means being able to disconnect with metal industry and connect with real people and community. It means being able to arrive at inner peace within an individual without greedy consumption of metals in various forms. It also means being able to find safer alternatives to nuclear power plants for electricity consumption. It also means serious re-thinking on our aspirations of life styles being more metal sensitive. Most importantly it means unlearning models of consumption based on greed. It means being willing to learn from various indigenous communities the models of life that is based on non-exploitative terms and integrating them into mainstream. It also means able to apply various societal and state agencies to influence metal sensitive development initiatives and alter existing consumption patterns that are leading the planet towards catastrophes such as nuclear radiation, industrial disasters and climate change. All the three looming catastrophes are caused by industrialization.
Non-industrial low ecological foot print communities such as Adivasi communities provide important lessons in peace, community spirit and non metal consumption pattern that have potentials for clues of solutions for greed based over consumption patterns. Metal sensitivity also means defending these communities. These communities have inhabited the planet and also used metals in most sensible and non exploitative manner towards nature as well as to human communities. It is only modern organized societies that are intensely involved in creating unsustainable future ever since industrial revolution for the past three centuries.
The logic of growth model of development has fuelled and continuously aggravated the climate crisis. The ideology of this model of development is single most factor of disruption of life and life support system in terms of mining in
There is a need to undertake re-look at this growth led development model, introspect on it and get into the process of dismantling it. There is a need for powerful and sustain action at the global as well as local levels in this regard. Power of de-growth option will emerge from consistent organization, reflection, evaluation and action on behalf of the mass of people at different levels in coordination with each other. This process that needs to be followed for this is bottom-up approach in organizing with ever deepening clarity of thought and vision.
One element that may be deliberately excluded from this action is violence. This is particularly because the growth model in place uses it so carefully to silence dissenters in ways more than one. It is not possible to embark on creating new models of sustainability based on violence as violence is source as well as model of unsustainability that is so integral part of growth model of development.
There is a need to set up small decentralized de-growth groups all over the state of Goa and beyond for both in order to provoke puncturing of growth model as well as establishing new models of sustainability. These groups must be formed as coalitions of various resistance movements so that they are able connect with consumption and distribution side of the political economy. Establishing these crisp cross linkages will serve as lifeline for dismantling the growth model as well for the evolution of new models with new paradigms and parameters.
The entire State of
De-growth has to not only be spread as idea – a radical critique of the prevalent system represented by growth model but also must take grip as pedagogy – actual practice of de-growth and rise of economy based on sustainability. This will have be patience project that far exceeds the narrow agendas of any kind of sectarian interests.
The involvement of large number of people in this project will get more minds searching the ways out to dismantle growth model of development as well as creating social infrastructure for the rise of self-dependent sustainable society. Important aspect of this whole endeavor is to take the debate out of the boardrooms of narrow circuits of researchers and get it tested with mass of people out in the open, in spaces and places where collective discussions are practiced. It may be on the streets, on village groups working on democracy, workers collective bargaining for their wages, urban groups of poor fighting for their share of water and food, middle class consumer rights groups demanding efficiency of delivery of gas cylinders at home, women organized to counter male domination, concerned teachers organizing themselves to infuse quality values in their students, student organizations who believe they have a duty towards their country, Members of political parties eager to do public service, Clergy groupings wanting to serve society with motivations from their respective religions, Groups farmers organized into the club, enterprising women that are part of self-help groups. All needs to be included. Greater the inclusion, better and effective it is for the growth model functions with exclusion of the majority. To dismantle this model first thing that is required is inclusion of the majority to evolve sustainable model that rescues society, polity, economy and ecology from crisis, and further go about to build a self-sustaining economy.
So the ‘crisis out there’, after deeper introspection becomes ‘crisis in here’. So the remedy for wider society and polity is also remedy for ones deep and intimate self. There is no dichotomy involved. Personal changes are outcomes of deeper reflections on wider issues. They look insignificant for non-sensitive audience. Sensitivity is the key. Personal reflections do away with dichotomies and the quality of vibrations oozing out from deeper self become purer with every action of introspection. It is a seed of de-growth. It is there in all of us. Point is whether we are willing to slow down and let it germinate.
 Rodrigues, Sebastian (2010) “Goa Police as an agency of repression 2007-2009” presented at the State level Seminar on “Human Rights and Environment – A Focus on Goa” at the Department of Political Science, St. Xavier’s College, Mapusa, Goa on International Human Rights Day December 10, 2009.
 Rodrigues, Sebastian (2009) “Mining and Displacement of Sustainable Livelihoods in
Note: This paper was circulated, presented and discussed at the National Consultation on the Impact of Climate Change on Livelihood and Support Systems held on 16-17 February 2010 at Bio-Medical Ethics Centre, Mumbai. The consultation was organised jointly by four organisations - (IRDWSI), Society for Participatory Action and Reflection (SPAR), and Vikas Adhyayan Kendra (VAK).
Acknowledgments: Prof. Alberto Gomes for his ideas on the concept of Political Ecology