Remembering Creative Solutions to Guerrilla Violence and Climate Change

Hannah exposes the dangers and solutions to Colombia’s climate crisis and non-peace.

In 2021, just a few hours from St Andrews at the COP26, then-President of Colombia Iván Duque signed the Declaration on Forest and Land Use, confirming his country’s commitment to halt forest loss and land degradation by 2030. However, the year before, 67 out of the 227 environmental activists killed globally were in Colombia. The country has been plagued by guerilla warfare and paramilitary operations for years now, and the perpetual non-peace is much more connected to the climate crisis than we realize.  

 

In 2016, the government, led by then-President Juan Manuel Santos, negotiated a peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which won Santos the Nobel Peace Prize and was expected to mark the end of the guerrilla regime. Thousands of FARC rebels agreed to turn in their weapons and reintegrate into Colombian society in exchange for land reform, rural development, and concessions. However, the release of (rural) territories traditionally under the control of FARC led to the rise of splinter groups, right-wind paramilitary groups, and criminal organizations. The government’s tunnel vision on the demobilization of FARC allowed for the rise for groups like the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGG), also known as the Gulf Clan.  

 

Surprisingly, the peace accord has actually aggravated environmental issues. A recent publication by Revis, Lee, and Rodrigues on the links between climate change and Colombia’s long struggle for peace revealed that “before their demobilization in 2016, the FARC had established some rules against environmental damage in many territories, including limiting deforestation. These rules were less about environmental concerns than they were a tactical choice to avoid aerial detection by the government… After the ceasefire, however, deforestation surged in territories formerly controlled by FARC.”

 

Credit: Creative Commons

 

Considering that 10% of the Amazon Rainforest, an ecosystem that is essential for stabilizing the planet’s climate, lies within Colombian borders, the effects of unregulated environmental degradation in the region would be felt worldwide. According to Revis, Lee, and Rodrigues, the groups that have replaced FARC prioritize profit over ideology, which has led to an increase in land clearance and illegal gold mining. Forest loss has increased exponentially since the 2016 peace accord. 

 

The unregulated guerrilla control has created another intertwined issue: being an environmental activist in Colombia is a very dangerous career choice. Carlos Andres Santiago, an anti-fracking activist interviewed by Al Jazeera, warned that, “Their message is basically that whoever opposes fracking will get a bullet, because they are the law here.” Colombia’s Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) has recently released data that confirms an increase in violence and threats of violence towards environmental activists in the years since the peace accord. In May 2022, the Gulf Clan paramilitary group named the environmental activists they intended to kill if they didn’t back down. 

 

Former President Iván Duque’s administration did not do nearly enough to address the issues of paramilitary violence and environmental degradation. However, the swearing in of President Gustavo Petro in August 2022 offers a new opportunity for progress in the perpetual struggle for peace and climate justice. Petro is not only Colombia’s first left-wing president, but he is himself an ex-member of the M-19 rebel group. He has announced his plan for “Total Peace” in Colombia, beginning with reducing Colombia’s dependence on oil extraction, negotiating with the remaining armed guerilla groups, and providing alternative forms of employment. According to Revis, Lee, and Rodrigues, armed groups began to show interest in the plan’s initiatives as early as October.  

 

Credit: Creative Commons

 

The change in leadership allows for a reconsideration of the paths we take toward peace. About a decade ago, when the government was desperate to address the issues of FARC control, one under-reported campaign showed a high success rate. 

 

In the early 2010s, Carlos Rodriguez and Juan Pablo García, two employees of the global ad agency MullenLowe, received a request from Colombia’s defense minister. After decades of war, violence had not been and still was not working to deter the rebels. The proposed alternative? Peaceful propaganda.

 

Rodriguez and García designed a marketing campaign following interviews with former rebels (read: market research) that, instead of targeting FARC ideology, targeted the rebels’ humanity. The campaign ultimately included decorating jungle trees as Christmas trees, sending luminescent Christmas ornaments down rivers on which rebels travelled, planting members’ childhood photographs in areas where fighting often occurred, and installing huge beacons of light so rebels could find their way home, out of the jungle. Ultimately, the campaign aided immensely in the peace process that culminated in the secession of FARC troops — and their reintegration into Colombian society.  

 

Operation: Rivers of Light, the plan was called, can serve to inspire solutions for violence. Thus far, President Petro’s approach to the guerrilla violence, informed by his background as a left-wing rebel, has shown his willingness to find creative solutions to Colombia’s perpetual non-peace.  

 

With mass media only reporting the bloodshed of Colombia’s guerrilla violence, remembering the success of peaceful solutions like that of Rodriguez and García is imperative — not just to stand a chance in the fight against violence, but also in the fight for our planet’s future.  

 

Comments

comments

142 thoughts on “Remembering Creative Solutions to Guerrilla Violence and Climate Change

  1. According to my observation, after a the foreclosure home is sold at a sale, it is common for any borrower in order to still have the remaining unpaid debt on the mortgage. There are many loan merchants who seek to have all costs and liens paid by the subsequent buyer. Having said that, depending on certain programs, regulations, and state legal guidelines there may be a number of loans which aren’t easily solved through the transfer of lending products. Therefore, the responsibility still rests on the consumer that has received his or her property foreclosed on. Thank you for sharing your ideas on this site.

  2. whoah this blog is fantastic i really like studying your articles. Stay up the great work! You already know, many individuals are searching round for this information, you can aid them greatly.

  3. Hello there, I found your site via Google while looking for a related topic, your website came up, it looks good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  4. I do not even know how I ended up right here, however I believed this put up used to be good. I don’t realize who you might be however definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you happen to are not already 😉 Cheers!

  5. Just desire to say your article is as astounding. The clarity in your post is simply excellent and i can assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the rewarding work.

  6. Hmm it seems like your website ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any tips and hints for rookie blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

  7. Thanks for your write-up. My spouse and i have constantly seen that almost all people are eager to lose weight because they wish to appear slim and attractive. Even so, they do not constantly realize that there are additional benefits for losing weight as well. Doctors state that over weight people have problems with a variety of disorders that can be instantly attributed to the excess weight. Thankfully that people that are overweight and suffering from a variety of diseases can reduce the severity of their own illnesses by means of losing weight. It is easy to see a steady but noticeable improvement in health as soon as even a slight amount of weight loss is obtained.

  8. Based on my research, after a foreclosed home is bought at a bidding, it is common for the borrower to still have some sort ofthat remaining unpaid debt on the loan. There are many creditors who seek to have all charges and liens cleared by the subsequent buyer. However, depending on certain programs, restrictions, and state regulations there may be a few loans that are not easily settled through the transfer of financial products. Therefore, the duty still rests on the consumer that has got his or her property in foreclosure process. Many thanks for sharing your opinions on this blog.

  9. hello there and thank you for your info ? I have certainly picked up something new from right here. I did however expertise some technical points using this site, as I experienced to reload the website lots of times previous to I could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your web hosting is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and can damage your quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords. Well I?m adding this RSS to my email and could look out for a lot more of your respective intriguing content. Make sure you update this again very soon..

  10. Greetings from California! I’m bored at work so I decided to check out your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the information you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, fantastic site!

  11. Pingback: joker gaming
  12. You can certainly see your skills in the paintings you write. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. All the time go after your heart.

  13. This is really interesting, You’re an overly professional blogger. I have joined your feed and look ahead to searching for extra of your fantastic post. Additionally, I have shared your website in my social networks!

  14. Pingback: lisbon jobs
  15. Pingback: kashmir hub
  16. Pingback: auckland jobs
  17. One thing I’d prefer to touch upon is that weightloss program fast can be carried out by the appropriate diet and exercise. Someone’s size not merely affects the look, but also the quality of life. Self-esteem, melancholy, health risks, and physical capabilities are damaged in an increase in weight. It is possible to make everything right and at the same time having a gain. In such a circumstance, a medical problem may be the reason. While an excessive amount of food rather than enough physical exercise are usually the culprit, common medical ailments and key prescriptions might greatly enhance size. Kudos for your post here.

  18. Pingback: rome jobs
  19. I?ve been exploring for a little for any high quality articles or weblog posts in this kind of house . Exploring in Yahoo I ultimately stumbled upon this website. Studying this info So i am glad to express that I’ve an incredibly just right uncanny feeling I found out exactly what I needed. I so much without a doubt will make sure to do not forget this site and provides it a glance regularly.

  20. An attention-grabbing dialogue is worth comment. I believe that it’s best to write more on this matter, it won’t be a taboo subject however generally persons are not sufficient to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  21. Excellent post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful information specifically the final section 🙂 I care for such info much. I was looking for this certain info for a long time. Thanks and good luck.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

THE STAND