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World: Atlas shows nearly 2,000 environmental conflicts in the world

World: Atlas shows nearly 2,000 environmental conflicts in the world

A “work in progress”, according to Alier, in which 1,729 conflicts have been collected throughout the world and that in the next five years they hope will gather up to 3,000 cases thanks to a 2 million euro grant from the European Research Council.

Extraction of minerals, gas, oil. But also in relation to transport, the right to territory, soy plantations, waste management or glyphosate fumigations. “We have also seen the expressions and vocabularies used by the movements, such as the 'sand mafia' in India.

The atlas allows, for the moment, searches for conflicts by countries, by the merchandise or subject matter of the conflict - the right to territory is the subject with the most related conflicts throughout the world, with 495 cases shown on this map, followed by the water, with 300 cases–, or by companies –Shell, Nigerian Petroleum Corporation and Chevronson which appear with the most related conflicts–.

The publication of cross-sectional maps on conflicts related to waste is also planned, including the cases of cement plant incinerators or cases such as Bogotá, where the cooperatives of garbage collectors for recycling were replaced by a service company. until, after 10 years of struggle, they got the Constitutional Court to recognize them as providers of this public service.

"In these times it seems that there is no way out, but this map shows the empowerment of society and the role that civil society takes," said Samuel Martín-Sosa, head of the international area of ​​Ecologists in Action, one of the organizations that have collaborated in the compilation of cases included in this atlas.

Martín Sosa also recalled the environmental activist Berta Cáceres, murdered two months ago as a result of her fight against the construction of a dam in Honduras. "Cases like this happen every day," lamented the activist.

Spain in the atlas

"In Spain, the environmental movement emerged, especially after the transition," explains Amaranta Herrero, coordinator of the Spanish cases. At this time, the atlas shows 59 conflicts in the Spanish State.

"They are conflicts that tell stories, show civil society as an engine of social and environmental change that counteracts having a government anchored in anachronistic conceptions," says Herrero, who explains that the cases included in the atlas are a "sample button ”.

Two of the Spanish cases shown in Spain, both in the Community of Madrid, are that of the unfolding of Highway 501 and that of the Morata de Tajuña incinerator.

"The unfolding of Highway 501 in one of the most valuable areas at an environmental level is one of the most emblematic cases of the environmental struggle," explains Ángeles Nieto, from Ecologists in Action. Nieto points out that the conflict dates back to 1996, when the Community of Madrid decided to unfold this route. Although the project was legally blocked, in 2006.

"In those years, we were in the boom of the Spanish economy. The infrastructures were built whether they were necessary or not, "recalls Nieto, who points out that the people who opposed the project were even branded as" murderers. " "The president of the Community of Madrid reproached us that we cared more about the birds than the lives of the people, providing false data on accidents on that road."

When in 2008, Ecologists in Action requested the stoppage of the works, the Superior Court of Justice asked them for a bond of about 500,000 euros. “We did a collection of money, but the Community of Madrid accelerated the works and they finished before we raised half a million euros. We are in a situation of moral victory: the road has been built and we ask that it be dismantled, that the sentence be applied ”.

That of the Morata de Tajuña incinerator is the other case exposed during the presentation of the atlas. “The cement company had been around for some time, but since 2002 the neighborhood struggle has increased because with the construction boom, emissions had increased. It was also known about the intention to install a thermal power plant ”, explains Nieto.

When construction fell in 2013, the Portland Valderribas plant (FCC) lowered its cement production. To reduce his fuel costs, he replaced it with burning waste. "It's like the famous Seseña tires, Cospedal says that during his government they were taken from there, but because they were taken to the cement factory."

Despite reports, such as the Mortality Atlas, showing how in this municipality, deaths related to respiratory problems are much higher than the Spanish average, the burning of waste of all kinds has not been stopped. "The feeling is one of total abandonment," laments Nieto.

The Diagonal


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