BY SANDINO MORAZÁN
Humans must do more to protect their environment — this is an idea that most of the world agrees to be true, and rightfully so.
Our planet’s polar ice caps are melting. Global sea levels are rising. Deserts are gobbling up once-fertile lands. Hurricanes are wiping out entire islands.
The list of reasons why we should all protect our environment goes on.
But let’s confront an inconvenient truth (no pun intended) that most people in a handful of countries rarely want to mention: the imperialist First World is destroying the planet at a much faster rate than the Third World.
North America, Europe, and to a lesser degree Japan, are among the top carbon dioxide-emitting regions on earth, according to U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change statistics. Within the last 50 years, more environmental damage has been inflicted on the planet than at any point in human history, thanks to the countries that comprise the First World.
This is mainly due to unregulated industrialization, domestic overconsumption and mass waste, three unavoidable consequences of the capitalist-imperialist economic system. Since profits command their economies, environmental regulations are treated as costly nuisances rather than necessary protections — this is then reproduced on a global scale by peripheral Third World countries dependent on First World economies.
Oftentimes, liberals in First World countries shift blame for this disastrous system away from their own governments and onto those of Third World countries. More specifically, they target anti-imperialist governments that are in the process of shifting their economies away from Wall Street and the London Stock Exchange — all under the banner of “environmentalism.”
This not only serves to take attention away from North American and European environmental crimes. It also helps to undermine enemy governments in Asia, Africa and Latin America that are resisting their global fiscal dictatorship by trading with countries like China and Russia.
Take Nicaragua and Bolivia as examples.
In Nicaragua, this takes the form of attacking the Grand Interoceanic Canal.
The project, which intends to create a transit canal that connects the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean, is spearheaded by the ruling, leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front, FSLN, party with financial assistance from a Chinese infrastructure development firm.
Aside from improving commerce between Latin America and Asia, it will create hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs for local residents. It will also lower trade costs for the country as a whole, since it won’t have to rely on the expensive, U.S.-controlled Panama Canal, the region’s main interoceanic trading port.
The Nicaraguan government and HKND, the Chinese firm financing the project, have admitted that it will have an environmental impact. This impact, however, will not leave permanent nor fatal damage to the region’s ecosystem, according to domestic scientific studies. Its construction plan also includes oversight from environmental monitors from around the world.
Despite these facts, First World liberals continue to attack the Grand Interoceanic Canal, vastly exaggerating the level of impact it will have on the environment. These attacks take two forms: political and mediatic.
Politically, the United States is leading the charge against the project by supporting right-wing opposition parties and a handful of bribed campesino groups protesting its construction. In 2016, for example, two U.S. diplomats were caught helping organize opposition protests.
This was around the same time that the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Nicaragua Investment Conditionality Act, also known as the NICA Act. The bill, which was temporarily postponed but later passed in July 2017, imposed sanctions on Nicaragua over so-called “election fraud” during its most recent presidential election — credible evidence for alleged fraud has yet to be presented.
These sanctions were an obvious political swipe at the Central American country for building economic relations with the United States’ most feared enemy: China.
In terms of media warfare, the United Kingdom is leading the charge, as liberal NGOs like Amnesty International and Global Witness constantly pump out hit pieces about alleged “human rights violations” committed against canal protesters. Aside from the arrests of a few violent protesters, like the five foreign activists who were caught with explosives in June 2016, credible evidence backing their claims has not surfaced.
These political and mediatic attacks against Nicaragua are also being replicated in Bolivia. There, the green imperialists are using the construction of a 190-mile highway as a basis for undermining an enemy government that enjoys warm relations with both China and Russia.
The highway, proposed by the popularly-supported government of Indigenous President Evo Morales, is intended to ease the transport of food, medicine and other vital supplies to remote regions of the country. It’s also intended to make the construction of state-funded public works in those areas easier.
First World liberals, however, have abhorred the project, claiming to be concerned about the future of Indigenous people living in Isiboro Sécure National Park in Tipnis, where the highway is set to cut across. A handful of unpopular, U.S.-backed leaders within the Yurakarés, Moxeños and Chimanes communities have essentially acted as spokespersons for Washington and Wall Street against the highway.
Citing these imperial agents, mainstream media claim a majority of people in the area oppose the project and, most importantly, that it will destroy the environment. Wildlife and agriculture, they claim, will be ruined.
Mainstream media covering the issue often fail to mention, however, that Morales’ government held a large public consultation in 2012 with Tipnis’ Indigenous people, where they overwhelmingly supported the project.
They also ignore the fact that most of the environmental impact studies about the project only claim that the area can potentially become a hub for illegal mining and deforestation. This is because those operating outside of the law can more easily access these resource-rich areas. The Bolivian government, however, has already drafted plans to protect the area from illegal miners and loggers.
The green imperialists are claiming the worst case scenario will become the most possible outcome, using this as a justification for opposing the highway.
As Morales said, “This so-called colonial environmentalism isn’t interested in the Indigenous movement having schools, hospitals, electricity or highways.”
Ultimately, these attacks against Nicaragua and Bolivia — both among the poorest, but also the most progressive and environmental-friendly countries in Latin America — are emblematic of how First World liberals use green imperialism to target Third World anti-imperialist governments.
That’s why before jumping on the “environmentalist” bandwagon against some of the world’s poorest countries, it’s important to remember the broader systemic context: capitalism-imperialism.