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Life as Commerce

Defending Community Rights against Green Land Grabbing

March 2014

This exhibition focuses on forest carbon projects, their potential impacts, and fairer and more effective alternatives. It shows how forest carbon offset projects in Africa, Asia and Meso-America have triggered violent evictions and caused fear and uncertainty amongst forest-dependent communities. Impacts are also felt in industrialized countries, by communities affected by the continued impacts of toxic pollution. Happily, there are alternatives that are more effective and more equitable, including Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved territories and Areas (ICCAs). These complement the alternatives approaches to neoliberalism that are emerging, based on the concepts of Buen Vivir, food sovereignty, energy sovereignty and wood sovereignty (see below). 

Critical Information Collective, Global Forest Coalition, Global Justice Ecology Project and Langelle Photography.

Impacts in Africa and Asia

In Chiapas, Mexico

In Richmond, California

Alternative ApproachesGlobal Forest Coalition

Increasing the Gender Gap: the Impacts of the Bioeconomy and Markets in Environmental Services on Women

May 2013

Biodiversity and Livelihoods under Attack from Industrial Bio-economy Strategy

September 2012

Bio-economy versus Biodiversity

April 2012
The ‘bioeconomy’ promotes speculative markets for ecosystem-based products and services, which are increasingly promoted as a ‘green’ alternative to the fossil fuel economy. Trading in ‘ecosystem services’ such as forest carbon offsets is accompanied by a massive expansion of wood-based bioenergy and other biomass-based products.

Civil Society Views in Scaling up Biodiversity Finance, Resource Mobilization, and Innovative Financial Mechanisms

April 2012

Carbon trading in forests, soils, farmlands and grasslands

A Guide for journalists to proposals on Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry and carbon trading for COP 16
December 2010

Forests and Climate Change: An Introduction to the Role of Forests
in the UN Climate Change Negotiations

May 2009

Life as Commerce toolkit

Toolkit to help communities who are being asked to accept or engage in a market-based conservation project.

Life as Commerce 2008

The impact of market-based conservation on Indigenous Peoples, local communities and women; summary report with the following five case studies.

Case study on Certification in South Africa

By The Timberwatch Coalition

Biodiversity Offsets in Paraguay

By: Alter Vida

Case study on Ecotourism in India


Case study on bioprospecting in Costa Rica

(only in Spanish)

Case study on Carbon sinks in Colombia

(only in Spanish)
By CENSAT Aqua Viva

International Financial Architecture and the Commodification of Life

By Juana Camacho Otero for Censat Agua Viva Foe-Colombia
June 2007

Life as Commerce Free Trade and the Environment – A dangerous Liaison: the environment and free trade

By GFC and Comunidades Ecologistas La Ceiba Amigos de la Tierra Costa Rica

Life as Commerce: International Financial Institutions, payments for environmental services and carbon finance


Life as Commerce: The Impact of Market-Based Conservation Mechanisms on Woman


The impacts of market-based biodiversity conservation on Indigenous Peoples, local communities and women

This paper mainly focusses on carbon trade and biodiversity offsets. Presented at the fifth Trondheim Conference on Biodiversity
1 November 2007

You Cannot Save It If You Cannot Sell It? How Environmental Services Markets Impoverish People

Global Forest Coalition
August 2006

Nature for sale – Friends of the Earth International and Global Forest Coalition
The new markets 1: selling our carbon

November 2005

The new markets 2: selling our genes and knowledge

January 2006

Ecotourism as a market-based conservation scheme in India

(in Hindi only)
How ecotourism development capitalizes on areas that are conserved at the cost of communities in India
March 2007

Empty land

The social and environmental impact of the Holterberg plantations in the Netherlands

Aviation expansion: the global cost of the carbon jet set

Aviation expansion: the global cost of the carbon jet set

Film Length: 21:46 A new global network has been launched to combat and coordinate action against the frightening expansion plans of the aviation industry. The plans are driven by the super rich flying increasingly frequently to their tax havens – and if they go ahead there is no chance of stopping runaway climate change. Fortunately there is growing resistance everywhere from a coalition of local residents, environmentalists and trade unionists, determined to stop the plans while protecting the futures of the workers …

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Our food is not your business

Our food is not your business

Alternatives to unsustainable livestock and feedstock farming and the current corporate free trade model This briefing paper aims to contribute to the many ongoing efforts, actions, and discussions on alternatives…

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