Iâ€™m loving the commentaries that have evolved around Avatarâ€™s themes of exploitation of natural resources, imperialism and biological diversity.
Libertarian blogger Stephen Kinsella arguesÂ here that it underscores his viewpoint that the movie demonstrates that property rights are the only way to protect the environment. Interestingly this is the logic of theÂ UNâ€™s REDD carbon trading scheme or to give it its long name, theÂ United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries. This is based â€“ in theory at least â€“ of forests having assigned carbon values and of local people having property rights over those resources. The â€œownersâ€ are then rewarded for not chopping down trees.
Such solutions arenâ€™t without their problems though. Aside for the more obvious problems of carbon credits â€“ that they allow the industralised world to delay reducing their own emissions -Â Global Witness point out inÂ this report [PDF] that was published last October, this is an untested scheme that may well benefit Africa and South Americaâ€™s kleptocrat rulers more than it does the environment, or the locals to whom this property has been assigned. Assigning property rights, suggests Global Witness, is part of the process of moving from an environment protected from logging, to a â€œsustainably managedâ€ forest which allows logging to go ahead.
Go to RSA Arts & Ecology