Seeing REDD

Like most other market-based solutions, REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), and its more recent avatar REDD +, are fundamentally about profit – not forests, not people, and not global warming or the climate. Last year in April after I’d been to the World Conference on Climate Justice and Mother Earth Rights in Cochabamba, Bolivia I’d written “Opponents question REDD [and REDD +] on numerous grounds, from the fundamentally flawed nature of the model that allows polluters to keep polluting to the dangers of indigenous people and other forest-dwelling and dependent communities losing control of their resources and livelihoods.” These concerns remain and are even more pressing now as any hope for serious system change that fundamentally addresses the root causes of climate change seems more of a mirage than before.

The issue of REDD/REDD + has driven a sharp wedge down the middle of many movements and activists struggling for environmental and climate justice and human rights. The indigenous people’s movement, for e.g. is virtually split over REDD and REDD +. Grassroots International’s partners and allies – and we share this view – are very clear in their skepticism of, and opposition to false solutions that continue to ignore the root causes of the problem and ignore the need for systemic change.

Our allies like the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Global Justice Ecology Project, Carbon Trade Watch, the World Rainforest Movement,  and the ETC Group among others have put out an informative reader on REDD and posed some key arguments against REDD +, exposing the problems and shortcomings of that model and approach. REDD Monitor is additionally a useful source of information about all things REDD, including a short video from Asia Pacific indigenous activists.

Photo courtesy of Friends of the Earth International