El Salvador is one of the most densely populated countries in the Western Hemisphere. It exhibits deforestation rates comparable to those of countries like Haiti. As with much of Latin America, historical land use patterns and ownership have favored large-scale, singular landholdings, for which regulations or management regimes were nearly nonexistent. Today, authorities are attempting to reform and implement a functioning environmental permitting system, even as new investments in sensitive coastal areas will substantially increase over the next five years. The discussion will outline the challenges facing countries like El Salvador with evolving institutions and rule of law concerns. It will consider the role civil society can play in forging real development compliance–no matter the country—and will highlight the work of a visionary Salvadoran community-based organization, La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa, whose vision and practice of rural development stand in dramatic contrast to conventional ”know-how.”
Monthly Archives: October 2014
The Mekong River: Threats to a unique human-ecosystem | South East Asia
The Mekong River is unique among the world’s great rivers in the size of the human population supported by its ecosystem. Approximately 60 million people derive their livelihoods from aquatic life in the river system. Largely unregulated through most of the 20th century, the Mekong River system is undergoing extensive dam construction throughout the basin for hydroelectric generation, with over 140 dams planned, under construction, or built. What will be the cumulative effects of these dams on the geomorphology, ecology, and human populations of the river and its delta? How will these changes interact with other changes such as deforestation in steep uplands, levees and channelization, and accelerated sea level rise?
Small-scale Farmers: Sources of “Buen Vivir” | Mexico
With the premise that human Buen Vivir is holistic and includes individual, communitarian and environmental aspects. Ana and a group of small-scale agro-ecological farmers of a nested farmer’s market in Chiapas, Mexico have put together a series of qualitative indicators. These were used to assess how selling in a nested farmer’s market contributed to their Buen Vivir. The Buen Vivir elements of the nested market were compared to other types of market outlets, such as conventional produce markets or door-to-door sales.
The results drawn from this research suggested that nested markets have more elements associated with Buen Vivir than conventional markets, such as emotional rewards and social recognition. Nevertheless, these markets also present challenges, such as low profits and discomforts related with social interaction. In the end, this research shows that the assessed nested markets have the potential to fulfill human necessities. social interaction. In the end, this research shows that the assessed nested markets have the potential to fulfill human necessities.
Strengthening nested markets can have beneficial impacts in the Buen Vivir of agroecological famers because they are sale outlets and they contribute to the sustainability of their agroecological production model.
Sustainable Tourism and Its Discontents | Honduras
Is an equitable sustainable tourism model possible, and if so how can it be implemented in a way that promotes the rights of indigenous and afro-descendant peoples? Examining the discourse and practice of sustainable tourism development on the Caribbean Coast of Honduras. Demonstrating the ways in which the Honduran state, international financial institutions (IFIs) and private tourism investors utilize the language of sustainability to promote tourism development projects that are ecologically destructive, and which threaten the territorial rights and autonomy of coastal peoples, especially the Garifuna.