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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/21/08

Sustainability and Human Rights Are Inseparable

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Sustainability & Human Rights are Inseparable -- The Blind Will to Drill and Dam is Not Only Absurd, It is Obscene

By Richard Power

Originally posted at Words of Power.

We are in the grip of a global sustainability crisis. That grip will only tighten.

Conflicts over oil and water threaten to consume us all. It is absurd to imagine that we can drill and dam our way into the future.

And here are two poignant reminders -- one from Malaysia and one from Canada -- that the blind will to drill and dam our way of out of this crisis is worse than absurd, it is obscene:

A secret document accidentally posted on the internet reveals plans to build a series of massive hydroelectric dams in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, submerging the homes of at least a thousand Penan, Kelabit and Kenyah tribal people.

The document is a presentation by the managing director of the company Sarawak Energy Berhad, and gives the location of twelve proposed hydroelectric power projects to be constructed between now and 2020. Sarawak Energy Berhad controls the production and distribution of electricity within the state.

The Penan are nomadic hunter-gatherers. Many have now been settled, but continue to rely very much on the forest for their existence. About 300 still live a completely nomadic life. The Sarawak Energy Berhad presentation was posted on a Chinese website and has now been removed. Survival, 7-17-08

To write a letter in support of the Penan, click here.

A "new world oil order" may be emerging for oil, but one of the world's indigenous oldest communities isn't prepared to race into it.

Arnie Bellis, vice-president of the Council of the Haida Nation, said in an interview on Monday that the skyrocketing value of oil and gas resources off the British Columbia coast holds little interest for his people compared to the natural environment they have resolved to protect.

"We're on record as being against the development of gas and oil in our territory -- in any territory that would have an impact on our environment," Bellis said in an interview from the Queen Charlotte Islands, known to the first nation as Haida Gwaii. Vancouver Sun, 7-15-08

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

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Richard Power writes and speaks on the 21st Century security and sustainability crisis. He is the author of five books. He has also delivered executive intelligence briefings and led professional training in over thirty countries. You can read his (more...)
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