Can tourism encourage the preservation of commons?

December 12, 2016 by

 

A recent report by the Red List showed that the population of giraffes have declined by 30% in the last 30 years, leaving the species vulnerable to extinction. The decline in the population is due to loss of habitat, poaching, and civil unrest in the surrounding areas. As one the tallest animal that walks our planet and an iconic figure of the African grasslands, the loss of giraffes as a species would be detrimental to the future generations who would never get to experience seeing one of these creatures in nature.

For many locals, wild animals can be seen as pests as they tend to consume or trample the agriculture that is being cultivated in rural villages. Many organizations are attempting to change this mindset and help the locals to view the wildlife as resources they can use to bring tourism into their communities. Project Spotlight with Campfire Association in Zimbabwe is one example of how rural villages are being education about the role of wild animals in the development of their communities. This project build solar powered fences around the villages to protect their livestock and agriculture from being eaten and trampled by lions and elephants and changed the relationship between the villagers and the surrounding animals. Since the involvement of Campfire Association, the Binga district went from having thirteen primary schools and no secondary schools to having 56 primary schools and nine secondary schools within fifteen years as the community continues to grow from the income from wildlife tourism.

Another project that works to conserve nature through the institutional development of the local community is the Khomas Environmental Education Program (KEEP). KEEP works with year 3 and 4 children from urban areas in Namibia to reconnect with nature through a field-based environmental educational program. The objective of this project is to build a culture of environmental awareness, social responsibility, and action in Namibia. This program is run by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation which sees the value of giraffes as a means of tourism but more importantly, they value giraffes as beautiful creatures that should be preserved so future generations can experience seeing a giraffe in nature.

While tourism can be incredibly detrimental to the environment, it can also be a means for preserving the commons and the resources within the commons. It is a booming industry that can be mismanaged but it can also bring millions of dollars towards preserving some of nature’s most beautiful creatures.

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The commons fight against big oil.

December 11, 2016 by

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Standing Rock.

A small but mighty blow was dealt last week to the big oil industry. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe had protested for months against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. A multi-billion pipeline of 1,200 miles that crosses four state was intended to slash the cost of crude transport. A section of the pipeline was planned to run right under Lake Oahe, a reservoir on the Missouri river. The Local standing rock Sioux tribe and thousands of Native Americans have protested the oil pipeline project as they believe the project threatens sacred native lands and has a great chance of contaminating local water supply from the Missouri river (the longest river in North America).

Going by the name “water protectors”, these activists are adamant that the pipeline poses a similar threat surrounding area. Also, the tribal leaders say the initial decision by the US army corps of engineers for the pipeline to run within half a mile of the local reservation was done without consultation of tribal governments and a thorough impact study. The pipeline project clearly violates federal law and native treaties. The news of the permit not been granted for the Dakota Access Pipeline is a major win not just for environmental activists but also native American rights.

It is interesting to notice how there was little to no coverage of the protest on mainstream media. It took the arrest of Shailene Woodley (celebrity) whom was protesting the North Dakota oil pipeline to bring in any mainstream media attention. Also, credit has to be given to online news network TYT and their political reporter Jordan Chariton for bringing attention to the water protector’s peaceful protest. One reason for the mainstream media blackout is down to the non stop reporting of the 2016 American presidential election which saw Donald Trump win against Hillary Clinton.

While the victory at standing rock demonstrates how a common and commoners can peacefully protest a big corporation and win. The fight may have been won but the war is not over. The oil pipeline company can appeal the decision taken by the US army corps of engineer and also the Obama administration in court. Also, the incoming Trump administration can try to overturn the decision as it is in favour of the pipeline. Some have attributed the recent victory to the Obama’s administration while a majority of people have criticised the government for its slow reaction to the dispute.

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Bodo community.

In 2008 and 2009, two oil spills devastated the fishing residents of the Bodo community in the Niger Delta. Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell agreed to a $84 million settlement with the residents. The two oil spills which were among the biggest oil spills in decades resulted in 15,600 Nigerian fishermen that depended on fishing for feeding their families and work lose their way of life. Due to the oil spill, the price of fish, a local staple food sky-rocketed as much as tenfold. With so many fishermen abandoning their way of life in search for other to provide for their families.

Each year, there are hundreds of oil spills in Nigeria caused by leaks and others by sabotage as local people steal oil to refine locally and sell to generate a livelihood. The settlement by the oil giant comes as a great victory for the local people after years of protesting oil exploration in the Niger Delta which has affected thousands of hectares of mangrove. Shell explained that both spills were as a result of operational failure of the pipeline.

The law firm that represented the Bodo community Leigh Day described the settlement as one of the largest payout to a community after a devastating environmental damage. This victory by the Bodo community came after a three year long legal battle setting a precedent. It is a disgrace that it took so long for the situation to be taken seriously. The clean-up of the oil spill does not reverse the damage done to the ecosystem.

Fight for survival.

 

These two examples are just drops in an ocean of a global movement of commoners fighting back the oil industry and other big multinational industries that pose a danger to their way of life. Across the world, a lot of ecological disasters are occurring as a result of the actions of industries, governments and people. For the commons to survive, it will not only need the commoners as activist but people around the world to join the movement.

A small win for environmental justice

December 11, 2016 by

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Just last week, it was announced that the Dakota Access Pipeline will not be granted a permit to drill under the Missouri River to build a pipeline that would transport crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois. This announcement came after 10 months of peaceful protesting at the Sacred Stone Camp which was organized by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and saw a coalition with dozens of other tribes. The numbers at the Sacred Stone Camp swelled to over 1000 people at times.

The proposed construction of the pipeline was a half mile from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation after being rerouted from the original planned construction site which was deemed as potentially dangerous due to the risk of polluting Bismark’s water source. This announcement comes as a victory to the protesters who feared the environmental and cultural damage the pipeline could cause. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe claimed that the pipeline would destroy sacred sites and could cause irreversible environmental damage.

While the project has been halted, the Energy Transfer Partners could still file to appeal the decision. The president-elect Trump has also showed support for the project and could overturn the decision once he is sworn into office. While many protesters celebrated and saw the halting of the project as a victory, many are weary with distrust.

This protest has been a battle about enclosures, commons, boundaries, and social labor. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe is facing enclosures as they are being alienated from the decision making of their land and resources. They claim to not have been consulted about the plans to build the pipeline only a half mile from the border of their reservation. The pipeline would distance the tribe from many cultural sites that would be destroyed during construction. The pipeline could also lead the tribe to be alienated from their water source as the pipeline has great potential to pollute the local water supply. The value for water as a life giving common is reflected in the slogan that is widely used in the protest, “Water is Life”. It is a common that cannot be denied to a single person.

The boundary of the reservation is being threatened by the pipeline as it is being constructed only a half mile from the border. The boundary of the reservation is based on the value that water is life and the value of inclusion. This common value was the catalyst for other tribes to come together in a formation of social labor. Even tribes whose resources are not directly being threatened joined the protests as they fought for the boundary of indigenous rights.

The battle over the construction of the DAPL has been won but the war between environmental justice and corporate greed is still rages on. 

Common questions for presidential candidates

December 11, 2016 by

While the Brexit and the victory of Donald Trump shook the world, it is the turn of France to be in  election period. The French will vote in May for their next president. The issue is all the more important in the current context.

François Hollande (French president between 2012 and 2016) presidential review is not good and the French are looking for actions, but they mainly think of actions that will affect their life, their income.

Thinking in terms of self-interest is not new. For example my family has a family business and I grew up in a climate where discussions during elections were mainly focus on how the political programs and presidential candidates would affect businesses and families. People votes are focused on how the election results would benefit them personally even if our nation and world are facing other majors problem.  Little is said about the common good of a society.

We live in an individualistic society where the needs and interests of the individual are promoted to the needs of the group. So what is the best way to think, to do? As a young citizen, a number of questions about common property come to my mind. This could destabilize the candidates often accustomed to speaking for the personal interests of different societal classes.

  • What constrained actions will you take to honor the Paris agreements ?
  • What measures would you take to reduce the tons of waste dumped into the oceans?
  • What is your action plan to minimize the abusive use of non-renewable resources in France?
  • What is your strategy to promote common good actions?
  • What is your plan to put the common good in the center of French concerns?
  • How will you make public space safe and accessible to all communities?…

By May 2017, many questions will be asked of presidential candidates in a multitude of talks, debates and meetings. It is up to us to ask the questions that concern us as a system of french citizens. It our duty to build the world we want live in, in France we have the chance to vote, this is not a reality in all country around the world.

The Coming War on China: Enclosure and abuse of the commons in the Pacific

December 7, 2016 by

This documentary film, which is just hitting the cinemas, reveals a looming clash of giants – the world’s biggest military power versus the world’s second largest economy. As often said, “where two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers”. The people and the environment of the Pacific Islands within range and surrounding China have been caught up in a dangerous situation which is not of their own making, with some indeed standing up for their right to protect their own commons – their land, soil, water, plants, fish, animals, as well as their health and livelihoods.

Historical Context

According to this documentary, when Japan was nuked, it had been deemed by the States to having an ambition to dominate the world – obviously an unacceptable scenario in as far as the United States was concerned. In the same manner, China is currently perceived to be on the same ambitious path as Japan then was. Its economic rise is deemed to be a threat to the International Order, hence the rhetoric by Trump that ‘the US is going to once again show its greatness to the world’. It must be remembered that China was once invaded and colonised, with the Chinese opium drug money funding the rise of one of the first industrial cities in Massachusetts, among others. After the revolution, successfully led by Mao, China extended a hand of friendship to President Truman and other American leaders but this was rebuffed. American-Chinese relations have never been cosy ever since the time of the Opium and Korean wars. Given this scenario, the rise of China as a global economic powerhouse therefore only serves to cement the perception that it is a threat to America’s global dominance and the current International Order.

Rise of China

According to one Chinese commentator in this documentary, ‘China has managed to match the US at its capitalist game’ and this is unforgivable, hence Trump campaigning on allegation that the US has lost its global authority and needs to reassert it. As a result of this gigantic economic leap, it is claimed that China has raised millions of its people from abject poverty into a new, thriving middle class in rising cities like Shanghai. As one Chinese entrepreneur and socialist activist asserts in this documentary, China is a one-party State that is however, good at changing policies but not political parties. He goes on to say that capitalism in China is state-controlled, citing one Chinese leader who said in 1977 that ‘socialism does not mean shared poverty’. Moreover, as he claims, in China, capital does not rise above political authority while in the US, capital has risen above political authority. Notwithstanding this economic, however, China has become one of the countries with the greatest inequality in the world, confirming the observation by some development theorists that as a country’s GDP rises so does the inequality. In these sprawling cities, migrant workers are said to be living in squalid conditions. Besides, as the industry grows, it is taking up farmers’ land with very insufficient compensation to the farmers. This has given rise to some revolutionary resistance to this land-grab – enclosure of the people’s commons.

Prevailing Abuse of the Pacific Islands Commons

It is revealed in this documentary film that the US has increasingly occupied and established military bases on Islands in the Pacific and the South Sea, all within reach of or surrounding China. It is claimed that China is now surrounded by 400 US military bases, all with their arsenal aimed at China. Among the occupied territory are the Pacific’s Marshall Islands and specifically, Okinawa (a Japanese island). Some of these islands and their inhabitants are said to have been used as guinea-pigs – testing missiles and researching on how humans absorb nuclear radiation. This has resulted in extensive radioactive contamination of the environment (soil, plants, water and food) and subsequent various kinds of cancers that are currently killing the population. It is claimed that some areas of the islands have been hit constantly with Hiroshima-sized bombs for around twelve years. The Pacific Islands’ commons are under serious threat as revealed.

Consequently, resistance groups to this occupation and abuse are emerging – most vocally, religious organisations since political opposition and activism are not tolerated in this region. It stands to be seen how effective the resistance activists can be. In light of this revelation, it is no wonder when Trump threatens to pull out of the Paris agreement on sustainable development because this US activity in the Pacific Islands is really the antithesis of sustainability.

 

http://www.itv.com/hub/the-coming-war-on-china/2a4249a0001

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dG7Bve0baPo

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/dec/01/the-coming-war-on-china-review-john-pilger-documentary-obama-us-nuclear

Degradation of Land due to Exploration of the Commons

December 7, 2016 by

I visited a friend in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria few year ago and for the first time what I saw that happening in the region scared me. Is it degradation of land , water pollution or the prevailing  sickness in the community, the abject poverty and the impending danger looming over the community? with over 600billion dollars estimated as generated income from the region since the 1960s. Majority of the Niger Delta population liven in abject poverty. You will not understand the extent of damage caused by oil companies and administrative neglect of Nigerian government to the ecosystem and socio economic development of the people of the Niger delta region until you visit the area. Anyone can stay at the corner of their house in other part of Nigeria or the world  and judge the people of violence, the truth is that the situation and condition of this region are under reported, swept under carpet and treat as trivial things by the government  and the Oil companies.

My friend said the situation of the community was not like this three decades ago. According to him, the people depend on the land for agriculture, the river for fishing and the bush for collection of forest products for livelihood. But everything changed when Oil exploration started. Sadly, ‘the government and private multinational Oil companies took control of the community’s common resources- land, water, oil and left them in the cold  with nothing!’ he explained . They are now strangers on their own land. The people do not know how many barrels of oil are on their fishing water and farmland. But it I evident that both the government and the Oil multinational companies reap financial benefit from drilling and refining of crude oil in the community; while the people bear the burden of loosing their farmland, rivers, health  and community, not only today but also in the future. From  my visit, the condition of the community is in contrast  with the wealth generated by Oil. The community lack clean water and air, lack basic social amenities and have no means of livelihood. Oil spills, gas flaring, waste dumping has damaged the soil, water and air quality, displacing hundreds of thousands of families. The question is can we say these Nigerian communities is doomed for Hardin’s tragedy of the commons? and  if it is so, is there any to avoid it? The Ibeno communities of Niger Delta area have been fighting the course for more than three decades with no signs of victory. The aquatic life is endangered by emulsification of the water caused when evaporation of the volatile low molecular weight components effect aerial life. In the region, about 390 millions tons of C02 emission annually from flaring gas has exceeded the Kyoto Protocol  standard and has a global impact on climate change.

Marx and other classicists believe that extension of market is a catalyst for economic growth, the analysis of Marx’s view is based on historical back ground of a society. The production should adapt and consider the social, political and spiritual aspects of the community life to be successful. The disadvantage – ‘lack’ (poverty)  in developing countries make the entry of these multinational companies gained entry into these communities in the first instance. (Cave, 1996).

 

Microcredit, a Social Development Tool

December 7, 2016 by

Sheltered from a pouring rain  by a palm leaf,  Reang is working on her loom, employing at the same time, her feet, and her hand to operate. Every move is graceful and coordinated as a hammock production is in full swing ! Although, traditional activity in the region of Battambang in Cambodia and in a lot of other place around the world are unfortunately in decline.

Many women subscribe to microcredit from microfinance institutions to buy raw materials and upgrade their equipment. Development through financial inclusion of  poor people is

burgeoning and is implemented in the majority of developing countries.

The Concept was developed by Muhammad Yunus,  the Nobel Peace Prize Winner in 2006, and involves the provision of financial assistance to people excluded from the traditional banking system. These poor, often illiterate and mostly unsecured individuals, do not fit into the boxes of large financial institutions. Lending money to them would be too risky.

The microfinance institutions work  in contrary to conventional banks trusting these future entrepreneurs by providing loans to expand or create an income generator. Credit modalities varies from country to country. The amounts are up to 60$ in India and 3000$ in Peru with a repayment spread over 3 to 24 month. Thus the microcredit institution does not only  supply a loan to a single woman or group of women (the latter appear to be more responsible than men) but also provides social and corporate management formations based on playful tools. The topics can range from the importance of not subscribing to several loans at the same time to the use the capital for business and not for consumption.

The practice shows that microcredit institutions have reason to believe in these people: the repayment rate is nearly on average of  98% . Through these actions, they are entire communities who see their standard of living and their social environment improve. Inclusive microcredit used in this manner proves to be a formidable development lever.

Most of the time, beneficiaries need significant cash contribution at a given time. Many micro-entrepreneurs use the money to build up stock, artisans (carpenters, weavers, shoemakers …) are applying for loans to purchase their raw materials needed to make their products. Finally, rural activities are numerous, the loans are used more often to purchase inputs, tools or animals.

Microcredit programs affect the development by creating physical, human and social capital. In fact the activity promoted by the loans increase production and consumption for common pool resources and units ressources. Microfinance has created a new system which is an important lever for sustainability.

 

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Modern Enclosure: Third Heathrow Runway

December 7, 2016 by

The recent decision by the British government to go ahead with the expansion of the third Heathrow runway was vehemently resisted by the residents of the surrounding villages whose homes are to be bulldozed to accommodate the third runway; Climate campaigners and opposition parties in United Kingdom  are against this move as well. meanwhile, the struggle to cope with the displacement and the new environment reality, increased noise and pollution is already traumatic for the residents around Heathrow Airport. Of course, it is business as usual with the government, it is very clear, the interest is extra profit! Yes, profit indeed 50% in flight tariffs and airport taxes which would generate billions of pounds for the managers of Heathrow airport and the government to the detriment of the people’s well being and environment. This poses a big moral question to business managers and the government, how long  will they continue to undermine habitable climate in the name of profit?  Currently, people around the Airport do not enjoy good night sleep because of noise, which make the campaigners to call for a ban of night flights which according to a reliable source has been ratified by the Airport Commission. According to statistics, Heathrow Airport has the highest (population) percentage of 28% representing 725,500 compared to the lowest 0.2% representing 5,700 of Liverpool John Lannon Airport in terms of people affected across the European Union.

According to ‘the SUN’, at least 750 homes will be demolished in the construction of Heathrow’s third runway . Tens of thousands of people will be under new  flight paths. According to campaign group called Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (HACAN), many people in West London and Berkshire could get planes for as many as 13 hours in one day as they are under the Heathrow flight paths. Heathrow Management has suggested that a congestion charge may  need to be introduced  to deal with the extra traffic on the M25, between junctions14 and 15 creating more hardship for the commoners.

ECONOMIC SLAVERY: BREAKING THE RULE OF LAW

December 7, 2016 by

It is clear that what drives capitalism is the ‘commodification’ of not only goods but also services and people, talents and ideas in the name of trade. The vulture will always go to where the carcasses are; such is the story of British American Tobacco Company (BAT). With firm actions taken by Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the World bank to curb the growth and consumption of tobacco (due to increasing health hazards worldwide) merged with ban on Tobacco advertisement in the Western world, cigarette manufacturers like BAT has relocated their manufacturing industries to Africa because of cheap labour and weak rules of regulation.

For instance, in Nigeria, the western region is regarded as the food basket of the nation  for more than a century, but the arrival of the foreign Tobacco companies like BAT changed the established ways of life, governing of the commons, cultural, social and ethical conditions of the people of western region of Nigeria. The incentive brought by the tobacco companies made many farmers  to divert their environmental resources to  the planting of Tobacco. Tobacco  growing offers new life style to the farmers, it displaced planting of traditional staple food by offering farmers some money (loan) with seed of tobacco to plant. The immediate money offered (as a bait) to the farmers cannot sustain them in taking care of their family, because they have to go and buy food from someone else, pay school fees of their children among many other family responsibilities. As a result, many of these farmers  ended up in debt

Many farmers become modern day slaves to the company because they were unable to repay the loan from the tobacco company. The farmers now experience long hours of stoop labour, harassment, abject poverty, staggering debt, exposure to nicotine and pesticide as well as poor health. The action of the companies have  disrupted  the  social, economical and environmental life of the farming communities. While the tobacco companies generate million of dollars in profit and conceal  the actual amount from the public, this benefit worsens the economic condition of the community and jeopardize the harmony of natural environment.

In July 2008, BBC conducted an investigation against the activities of BAT in Africa and came out with a documentary titled ‘Bannatyne Takes on Tobacco’ and exposed that the tobacco multinational was breaking rules in Nigeria, Malawi and Mauritius.

In 2009, there was a rumour that cigarette manufactures in Africa were involved in illicit activities in West African region. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)investigated the rumour and published a report entitled ‘ Transnational Trafficking and the Rule of Law in West Africa: A Threat Assessment where they exposed that about cigarettes worth more than US $774 million were smuggled into Africa.

Upon all the money BAT is making either legally or illegally, they are very inconsiderate in the wealth distribution that suppose to be extended to the farmers who have lost their traditional ways of life that made they to be happy and proud in their communities. The new advent of tobacco business which is uncustomary to them put them in debts and shame.

Heathrow Airport Expansion: An Enclosure of the Commons.

December 7, 2016 by

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Heathrow Airport Expansion: An Enclosure of the Commons.

Aviation is one of the main sources GDP for most countries in the world. However, it contributes greatly to global warming and climate change due to Carbondioxide emission by aircraft and the heavy noise created during landing and departures. This has often created disturbances for people who are residents within the areas of airports for which Heathrow airport is of no exception.

The United Kingdom has one of the biggest aviation markets in Europe with the biggest airlines (British Airways), the largest airport (Heathrow), and has high passenger turn over (Whitelegg, 2000). From research on journals and other publications on Heathrow expansion, government’s motivation to expand Heathrow Airport was as a result on trade to increase their GDP per capita and to maintain its international leadership on trade and commerce. The plan was supported by many aviation industries such as the British Airways Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Airways, the British Chambers of Commerce, the Trade Union Congress and the then labour government. Nonetheless, people such as the former mayor of London Boris Johnson, advocacy groups such as the green party, friends of the earth and other prominent individuals opposes the project on the basis that it will breach EU laws and questions around green gas emission (BBC, News, 2010). While the project was originally cancelled in 2010, came 25th October 2016 the new Prime Minister Teresa May gave the approval for a third runway and the expansion of Heathrow to proceed. The decision of the Prime Minister sparked outrage and controversy among the public and many environmentalists.

The discussion centred around Heathrow airport expansion has been mostly on its environmental effect to human health. Heathrow airport is situated around large towns such as Harmondsworth and Sipson and is a home to thousand of Residents. On this note, for the British government to expand Heathrow airport is seen as a deprivation of the right of the commoners who have been resident in these places for many years thereby seizing their right and ability. A third runway and a sixth terminal will mean that historic villages will be demolish, ancient buildings, schools and local pubs will be reduced to rubble. Some 700 homes, churches, graveyards could be ‘’bulldozed’’ with entire villages seen disappearing, which will mean that seven hundred residents will be displaced from their comfortable home zone by this process (Ryan, 2006). The expansion of Heathrow was not only going to affect the commoners of the locality, the excessive air traffic by aircrafts will result in increased Carbondioxide (CO2) emission. This situation will increase air pollution and also cause noise disturbance for thousands of Londoners thus breaching the new EU health limits on noise disturbance (Whitelegg, 2000). It was concluded that the proposed expansion of Heathrow would have disproportionate impact on ethnic minority communities such as exposure to poisonous fumes from aircraft, which could later lead to long-term health problems irrespective of whatever measure the government propose to take to cut down on green house emission. The UK government did not adequately assess these impacts neither were the local people consulted.

Not all decision made by a government in the name of development realistically reflects the interest of the commoners. The plan for a third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow by the British government was focus mainly on trade to increase their GDP per capita without considering the wellbeing of the commoners who are the most deprived on the pretext that UK government wants to maintain its international leadership on trade and commerce. To achieve this, the government went on to substantiate the importance of Heathrow airport on the basis that the city of London will lose huge amount of income if Heathrow airport is not expanded and fear of congestion they will lose a lot of business to other neighboring European countries such as Brussels and this will hinder the UK economy (Heathrow Expansion, 2007). The Department for Trade (DFT) believes that the expansion of Heathrow will create job for the local people and will boost the economy of the United Kingdom (DFT, 2007).

Although the expansion of Heathrow airport was a very important innovation, critics believe that the UK government did not consider the commoner’s concerns and wellbeing, which include air pollution and excessive noise from aircraft which residents had serious concerns especially regarding their comfort and safety. The noise from aircraft according to locals has seized their privilege from having relaxing time in their gardens, school children from playing in the play ground, also damaging their learning ability to pay attention in class. Aviation industries declared that noise problem had reduced rapidly, also supported by the British government defending the concerns raised by the commoners on the ground that technology will be used to solve the commoners’ problem on air pollution and the disproportionate noise from aircrafts. This was disputed by locals to be unreliable and false as shown in the Heathrow terminal 5 inquiry (HACAN News, 1997). It was argued that if government is now talking about technology why was this not done long time ago? From this perspective it will be assumed that the government was trying to persuade the commoners/residents to stop any rebellion against the expansion of Heathrow airport.

The UK government claimed that the Heathrow expansion is essential for their economy and therefore any restriction of such expansion could have an impact that will be detrimental to their economy since it is a source of competition with other European hub airports for trade and commerce, others looked at it as a flawed. It was estimated that the net economic benefit of building a third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow would be around £5billion. The UK government however, argued that Heathrow is on the verge of suffering a decline in connectivity to the world due to the fall in passenger numbers caused by the global economic recession, they believe will increase again when the recession ends. However, there were major flaws in the Government’s case. It was discovered that there were more British tourist and business people flying abroad from UK on holiday and working than other foreigners coming to the UK resulting into economic deficit when comparisons were made. It is believed that, there would be no net economic benefit from expanding Heathrow.

Considering the above it was said that the Government’s economic case for Heathrow was fundamentally flawed. Aviation is one of UK’s fastest growing sources of carbon dioxide therefore cutting growth in air travel would help Britain develop a new green economy and reduce their dependence on insecure and dirty fossil fuels. Therefore the opinion was that Government should fundamentally review its entire aviation strategy, and abandon its airport expansion.

Alternatively it was expected that the government should plan and invest in to short-haul flights such as fast rail travel. It reveals flaws in the Government’s economic case showing why expansion isn’t necessary for London to remain competitive and accessible. It is possible that if the government should use an alternative means of transportation, this will help reduce pollution through the emission of Carbondioxide and also reduce vibration noise. Rail travel has much lower carbon emissions per passenger than flying. It is more cost effective and environmentally friendly in terms of air pollution, noise disturbance, safety and less impact on the commoners as compared to aircrafts.
It is believed that at least 50,000 flights per year leaving Heathrow are on routes with a viable rail alternative and one of the most popular destinations served by Heathrow is Amsterdam with 27 flights per day. Other short haul destinations with fast rail links served by the airport include Paris, Brussels, Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, Lyon etc. and therefore passengers on these routes can use the train instead of aircraft with thousands of tons of carbon dioxide emissions saved per year.

The UK Land compensation Act, 1973 part 1 allows the compensation to landowners especially if the land is devalued by physical factors such as noise, vibration, smell and fumes caused by the use of public work. The Law provides compensation in respect of loss of value arising from indirect effects of airport development during construction (Department for Transport and Trade (DFT 2003:144).

To this degree, it can be argued that the expansion of Heathrow airport was underpinned by the capitalist motive where the ruling class will use power on the working class to claim Heathrow and its environs to develop a third runway and a sixth terminal in their own interest. The act of the government to overrule the commoner’s rights left the commoners with little option but to rebel in the form of causing obstructions at airports and by flying out banners to show the government their grievances. To this current government and the Department of Transport, the well – being of the commoners is of less importance rather, their major focus is on how to boost the UK’s economy (Topham et al., 2016).
The story of Heathrow Airport and it expansion can be fast-tracked way back in the 15th and 16th centuries were many subsistence farmers were stripped of their land and were typically working under the hospice of the aristocrat. To this extend many farmers had to move to other cities in search of work. This controversy led to series of government act such as the general Enclosure Act of 1801, which sanctioned large –scale land reform (Landes, 2003).

The term ‘commons’ historically referred to natural land and pasture that belong to a community. This was the case until the 16th century when the process of enclosures started. Linked to Marx’s concept of primitive accumulation, enclosure was fundamental in the formation of capitalist relations because it concomitantly secured the landless labour class and the initial accumulation of capital. Harvey (2003) argues that this process of enclosure happens continuously in capitalism, describing it as ‘accumulation by dispossession,’ essentially capturing an on-going process in which the logic of capital extends to ever new domains of society. This can take the form of land grabs and enclosures of previously community owned resources or privatization of formerly public services such as healthcare and education.

It can be argued that accumulation by dispossession has been the driving force of expanding capitalist relations, pushing struggles for the commons to the centre of political mobilisation. The current drive for privatization and commodification of commons are jeopardizing public governance. Today, across the UK many commons are exposed to privatization and private ownership. It is against these contexts that several social movements have emerged across the UK with the aim to develop common movement that will act as a political force to questions current economic relations and proposes progressive alternatives to the decisions of elects of the state.

De Angelis (2012) refer to the commons as a vehicle for repossessing ownership of commons. According to De Angelis he state that to defend the commons from new enclosures and to create new commons one should always take a critical position towards the commons and not glamorize it. Although, Harvey (2012), warns that the enclosure of commons by the state could be in common interest, like in the cases of enclosure of Amazonian rainforest by the state to protect it. There is always the question of who benefits from the commons. We should examine commons critically, on a daily basis and use it as a model for bonding commoner struggles. Considering the above, not all decision made by a government in the name of development realistically reflects the interest of the commoners.

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