What is at stake in the "green economy"?

What is at stake in the

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On the eve of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development -Rio + 20 (2012), we were approached by an avalanche of international activists who denounced the dangers of the “green economy” so propagated by the media and the large environmental NGOs. , with the consent of ideologically aligned politicians, both with the right and with the left in this Latin American-Caribbean continent.

Amyra El Khalili *

The green economy was presented as an alternative to solve socio-environmental problems, such as the fight against poverty, inequalities and environmental degradation, and in the conventions of the institutions it was designated as a goal of the millennium objectives in the program of the UN, by the World Bank, the Organization of American States (OAS), among others, in the most diverse sectors of the economy, supposedly admitted (the green economy) as a consensus resulting (it was what they said) of broad debate with society and thus becoming a fait accompli.

However, the “green economy” is not limited to including environmental variables in the political-economic debate. It comes as a package forged by the financial sector, dragging in its growth, obviously adjusted to its interests, innumerable initiatives and proposals that started from the excluded base of the great decision-making centers and the meetings of those same institutions, which had a illegitimate representation of the same politicians and their collaborators in the mega infrastructure projects responsible for the environmental impacts in the regions from which the proposals of those who day by day challenge the status quo with their right to exist originated.

Important proposals discussed by years of work together with the most diverse communities that constituted, for example, the hydrographic basin committees, such as the "charge for the use of water" were put into the same package of what they call "payment for environmental services ”.

The agribusiness and business sector uses natural resources (water, energy and minerals) through grants (exploration concession) as input to produce goods and services, while the proposal prepared by the hydrographic basin committees, "collection for the use of water ”, is being included in this financial package, without due explanation of what it means to“ sign ”a contract with a specific clause on“ Payments for Environmental Services ”, or to clarify what is implicit when that expression is used.

Our participation in the debate on economic and financial instruments has always been guided by didactics and clarifications. We always clearly exposed in the discussions the risks and the needs to advance towards a new economic model for Latin America and the Caribbean, with proposals that came from the base and from the most distant corners of urban centers, while politicians and lobbyists debated their proposals in forums held in luxury hotels, washed down with trendy drinks with corporate solidarity among peers.

Using confusing concepts, dubious political positions, but with sophisticated financial engineering when it comes to the land and common goods equation, strategic natural resources swelled the business of international geopolitics (our old acquaintance) as one more increase in wars. (many times promoted by the rulers themselves), all in defense of democracy and peace in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, Africa.

This issue, being very thorny, requires courage to face it properly. It forces us to remember the bloody history with which the political forces in Latin America and the Caribbean have been installed, colonialism, slavery. Unfortunately and unfortunately, it also forces us to look at the situation of refugee brothers and sisters, an image that occupies almost every day the news, as well as fundamentalists who feed on the vicious cycle of indifference.

The investigation "Economic Valuation and Payment for Environmental Services - Recognition of the Value of Nature or Attribution of price to the destruction of nature", by biologist and activist Jutta Kill, makes a careful analysis and gives us clarifications based on technical arguments- operational (execution) and legal aspects of how these "experiments" have been implemented based on the principle of the green economy in northern countries, and its consequences both there and here. (*)

In this work it is clear that we are facing a more complex ethical and moral problem and far removed from the false solutions that are imposed by force of accommodation, depoliticization and lack of interest. The latter is the one that is calmly justified: "If I don't understand the matter, I don't want to know."

If we want to get out of the quagmire that our contemporary civilization got into, it is better to start knowing and understanding.

People willing to investigate, clarify and guide, committed to the democratization of information is not missing and never was missing. As the scientist and activist Carlos A. Lungarzo draws our attention:

“[…] The awakening of women, coinciding with one of the greatest international crises of capitalism, may be the hope of a new stage, this time peaceful, that does not renounce equality (and, therefore, disappearance of the classes) but to face immediate problems. This would be a New Left, or better, a second phase of the "New Left". Nothing guarantees its success, but its chance is greater than that of violent movements that only benefit arms traffickers and that have produced millions of deaths in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

We cannot expect that the groups that today mobilize tens of trillions of dollars will be definitively defeated. Until that happens, if it happens, a billion children, indigenous people, blacks, refugees, women and the poor await a reaction from the enlightened forces of this planet that, believe it or not, exist.

* Amyra El Khalili is a professor of socio-environmental economics and editor of the networks Movimiento Mujeres por la P @ Z! and Alianza RECOs - Community Cooperation Networks Without Borders and collaborates with Southern Dialogues

(*) Heinrich Böll Foundation


KILL, Jutta. Economic Valuation and Payment for Environmental Services - Recognition of the Value of Nature or Attribution of Price to Destruction of Nature? Access on: 02 mar. 2017. Captured on: 10 mar. Free access:

EL KHALILI, Amyra. Or Rio São Francisco is a “cobrança hair use of water”. Access on: Aug 14. 2016. Captured on: 10 mar. 2017.

THE KHALILI. Amyra. As environmental commodities and carbon metrics. Access on: 17 fev. Captured on: Feb 17 2017.

LUNGARZZO, Carlos A. To Greve de Mulheres and to “Novíssima Esquerda”. Access on 03/08/2017. Captured on: Mar 8

By JUTTA KILL: Economic Valuation of Nature

The Economic Valuation of Nature has been studied for some years. In this new publication, the subject is investigated with a new approach. This article thus explores the differences between recent initiatives focused on “ending the economic invisibility of nature” and the old perspectives regarding its economic valuation. Despite being currently conceived as a new mechanism for environmental conservation and sustainable development, the economic valuation of nature is nothing new. In reality, it is embedded in the logic of the accumulation of capital that has been present in our society for centuries.

Video: Master in Biology - Biodiversity and Sustainability (June 2022).


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