Globalization has been understood both as a threat and an opportunity in the global fight for environmentalism and human rights. Many indigenous groups often face increasing pressures from global neoliberal institutions as they struggle to retain their way of life through the high tides of globalization. However, because globalization is geographically unlimited, it also has the ability to influence the emergence and development of social movements consisting of indigenous ethnic and tribal groups, farmers, environmentalists and human rights activists that use globalization to their advantage to challenge the role of neoliberal global institutions.
Calling for more government accountability in projects that cause the displacement of numerous local communities and considerable environmental damage, environmental movements harness the potential of globalization to further develop and communicate their demands, goals, and policies by using local, national, and international ways to coordinate with activists.
Globalization plays a significant role in anti-globalisation environmental movements that oppose the internationalization of politics by transnational actors and institutions such as the World Bank. While many claim that the potential benefits associated with projects by organizations including the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organisation outweigh any implications on the environment or on the human rights of those affected, many have opposed the involuntary displacement of locals and environmental degradation in their local communities.
Concerns over a project’s human and ecological impact have been among the priorities of most social movements that aim to oppose the negative impacts of globalization. However, the same globalization helps assist their calls for greater government and transnational accountability as public participation in social movements is aided by technology and forces of globalization. Technology has helped raise awareness of indigenous issues as marches and protests, public speeches, assemblies of protest or support, letters of opposition or support, declarations by organizations and institutions, newspapers and journal articles, and government action in return attract international attention that help further the movement’s message. Press coverage is geographically unlimited as advances in technology allow for the movement of ideas and news to become increasingly facile. Thus, globalization has provided the movement a means to bypass traditional government censorship and spread its methods of resistance locally, nationally, and internationally.
Globalization helps facilitate connections between local and international governmental and non-governmental organizations to enable international and domestic collaboration that aim to redefine discourses of development, democracy, and government accountability across the world. The facilitation of such global networks allows social movements to use contemporary globalization to its benefit and shape outcomes. Such a citizen-driven international network allows autonomous social movements to bypass state driven international affairs and become important champions of human rights and environmentalism.
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