By Chris Lang
I’m planning to change the “REDD in the news” posts on REDD-Monitor. First, some background. The other day, I received an email. “Chris, you just published an article of hers??” it said, followed by this:
That’s a screenshot from last week’s “REDD in the news” post.
My correspondent was concerned that I was linking to an article by Jane Goodall, without any critical comment, given that in the past I’d described Goodall’s REDD project in Tanzania as “A totalitarian approach to conservation that led to increased inequity, undermining of democracy, and violent evictions”.
In August 2012, villagers in Goodall’s REDD project area were threatened and beaten by an armed group consisting of District Natural Resource Officers, Park Rangers, and police. They were guided by men from a neighbouring village who were working as Voluntary Forest Monitors for the Jane Goodall Institute.
The villagers’ crops were destroyed. Their possessions were taken. They were severely beaten using sticks and a rubber inner tube. Some villagers were forced to eat soap. A ten-year old boy was kicked so badly that he later died. Houses and harvest stores were burned down. Villagers are still trying to get compensation and justice from the Jane Goodall Institute.
While I could clearly see my critic’s point, I explained that “REDD in the news” posts include all sorts of things that I don’t agree with. I haven’t changed my opinion about Goodall’s REDD project, I explained. This was just a link to an article by Goodall that was published in Mongabay. REDD-Monitor did not publish the article.
I suggested that maybe “REDD in the news” posts should include a disclaimer pointing out that the posts linked to don’t necessarily reflect REDD-Monitor’s opinion.
“Yes, deposit a disclaimer soonest”, came the reply. “The stuff coming out now, in your name, is vapid. I wonder why you changed the delivery of the Lang integrity?”
I explained that I hadn’t really changed anything. The first REDD in the news post on REDD-Monitor was posted on 17 October 2008. There was plenty to disagree with in many of the articles listed back then.
My correspondent apologised for the confusion and added, “I am a great admirer of what you do and what you stand for. I just don’t recall the general news effusion.”
The old REDD in the news
The idea behind the “REDD in the news” posts on REDD-Monitor was to share information about REDD, regardless of whether I agreed with what was written. There were two aims:
1. To share information about how REDD is developing and what REDD proponents are thinking.
In the past, someone at The Nature Conservancy has asked me to link to their blog post. I did. Someone working at the US Environment Protection Agency sent a link and asked for it to be shared. I did. Colleagues quite regularly send links and suggest they should be included in the next REDD in the news post. I almost always do.
One former-REDD project developer asked whether it was possible to subscribe just to the REDD in the news posts. Obviously, I was offended, because that would mean subscribing to a list of articles by a wide range of people, but excluding me. I swallowed my pride and replied that it’s not possible, but you could click on this link once a week to see the latest post.
Recently, there have been no links to articles about REDD in “REDD in the news” posts. That’s at least partly because a large part of world’s media is currently reporting on only the coronavirus crisis. The most recent mention of “REDD” in a “REDD in the news” post was six weeks ago.
Instead, “REDD in the news” posts link to articles about the climate crisis, the aviation industry, the oil industry, methane emissions from cows, explanations of carbon trading, the green new deal, forest fires, the anthropocene, and a seemingly endless list of articles about whether the coronavirus crisis might show us a way of addressing the climate crisis.
And an article by Jane Goodall about the origins of the coronavirus…
The new REDD in the news
For a long time, I’ve been wondering about the “REDD in the news” posts. The more topics that are included, the more of my time it takes. And it serves little purpose, since anyone with an internet connection and a search engine can find the articles, if they are interested.
So, I’m planning to change the REDD in the news posts. There will be fewer articles linked to. I’ll also change the format. Instead of cut and pasting the first couple of paragraphs of the article, I’ll write a brief analysis explaining why I think the article is relevant and important.
I’m hoping to use the new look “REDD in the news” to blow off some steam about articles that are worth commenting on, but may not deserve a full response in a post on REDD-Monitor.
News junkies can follow @reddmonitor on twitter, where I’ll continue posting links to a wide range of articles.
Please let me know what you think of these proposed changes in the comments below. I’ll start the new look “REDD in the news” posts next week. And if you come across articles that you think I should comment on (whether in “REDD in the news”, or in a post on REDD-Monitor, please send them along). Thanks!