Photo Essay: A Global Gathering for Environmental Rights

“People of Indonesia, continue fighting for your rights and do not allow injustice. We in Honduras are with you.” Laura Palemese from the Environmental Law Institute of Honduras support the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law in their campaign to access information about pulp and paper operations that are linked to water contamination.

Alisa Zomer

Article by Alisa Zomer, Yale F&ES '14 (Posted: November 10, 2014)

The murals and graffiti that define public space in Bogota give an impression of the country’s creativity, diversity, and struggle. Emerging from a period of political and social unrest, Colombia is enjoying a period of economic growth and positive international attention. As an example of what is possible, Colombia is the perfect place for civil society to gather from around the world to learn from one another, share strategies, and get energized to move on important environmental rights. This year’s gathering, hosted by Colombian Asociacion ambiente y sociedad, had 95 representatives from over 40 countries. It focused on the intersection between technology and forest management. A defining moment of diversity and group-think was during the exercise “Agree, Disagree, Unsure.” Participants came up with controversial statements (i.e. ‘using technology is necessary for environmental protection,’ ‘democracy does not work for the environment,’ ‘business must be part of the solution,’ ‘there is no sustainable mining,’) and were asked to take a position and discuss. It was valuable to see the wide range of positions on seemingly simple issues and especially interesting experiencing participants persuade others to join their side – all with appreciation and respect.

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