Environmental Movements in Minority and Majority Worlds: A Global Perspective

Environmental Movements in Minority and Majority Worlds: A Global Perspective

Environmental Movements in Minority and Majority Worlds: A Global Perspective

Environmental Movements in Minority and Majority Worlds: A Global Perspective

Synopsis

Drawing on his primary fieldwork in six countries, environmental researcher Timothy Doyle argues that there is, in fact, no one global environmental movement; rather, there are many, and the differences between them far outweigh their similarities.

Excerpt

The rooster crows early in the majority world.

In November 1998 I woke to this familiar sound in the parish compound in Tampakan, a small town in trouble-torn Mindanao, a southern island in the massive Philippines archipelago. I was in Tampakan as part of an International Fact-Finding Mission (IFFM) into the operations of transnational mining companies in the Philippines. Over the past week we had held an intensive series of meetings with every possible sector of Philippine society to ascertain the impact of open-pit mining on Filipino people, as practiced by predominantly foreign companies. Today, we would visit a proposed mine site and interview company officials as to aspects of their environmental management regimes.

No sooner had I arisen and fulfilled my basic ablutions when I heard the bell of the church, beckoning people to the dawn service. I was not a regular church-goer in my own country, but following the ring of the bell seemed the most natural thing in the world to do. I entered the church. Despite the fact that it was a weekday and the sun had barely risen, the church was jampacked. the priest saw me enter and publicly welcomed me. He began to talk of the impact of open-pit mining on the agriculture of Mindanao: the rice bowl of the Philippines. He spoke of the necessity of local people having control over their own resources, their own land. At the end of the service, countless people came up to me and gave me their blessing, pledging their solidarity with the IFFM’s purpose.

It was a remarkably moving experience. in my own country the church had become removed from its people. But here in the outlying regions of the Philippines it still had purpose, defending people from the most recent form of colonialism: that imposed on the local people by transnational corporations from the affluent minority world. Sitting on a pew in Mindanao, I truly realized, for the first time, the enormous gulf between environmental move-

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