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About the Author

Hemant Jain
Writer, designer (Mumbai, India)

I am a writer and illustrator. I like to tell stories about the world I live in and keep a tab on India's environmental crimes here: http://greatindiansale.blogspot.com/

Post

Are you ready to become a google gueriila?

Published 01st July 2010 - 6 comments - 3669 views -

 

What we did:
We looked for Niyamgiri on Google Maps and found it "belonged" to Vedanta. How ingenious. So we decided to tag the greenwashing. We added a review giving a viewpoint other than the companies' one. Then someone posted the Amnesty International report excerpt there. And then another one joined in. We hope it becomes a movement.

What you can do:
Look around you. Everywhere in the country there are environmental crimes happening. Take pictures, make videos, write, look for information. And tag the places on Google maps. So that when people are searching for the place, they can find out about what's happening.

Simply put: Name and shame the greenwashers.

Here is Niyamgiri on Google Maps: Click here to see the entry made by Vedanta and read the reviews.
Express your opinion.
Go on, tag the greenwashers!

Background on Niyamgiri, Vedanta and Orissa:

From Amnesty International: Plans to mine bauxite in the Niyamgiri Hills in the Indian state of Orissa threaten the very existence of the Dongria Kondh – an indigenous community that has lived on and around the hills for centuries. The Dongria Kondh depend entirely on the hills for their food, water, livelihoods and cultural identity. They consider the Niyamgiri Hills as sacred. The proposed mine could have grave repercussions for their human rights to water, food, health, work and other rights as an Indigenous community in respect of their traditional lands. International law requires that governments seek their free, prior informed consent before beginning such projects. In Lanjigarh, at the foot of the Niyamgiri Hills, air and water pollution from an alumina refinery run by Vedanta Aluminium are threatening the health and well-being of local communities. Although the Orissa State Pollution Control Board has reported serious concerns about water contamination and air pollution and documented numerous failures on the part of the company to adequately manage waste disposal from the refinery, this information has never been shared with local people. No health monitoring has ever been done. Despite the existing problems and widespread community concerns, Vedanta Aluminium has sought clearance to expand the refinery's capacity six-fold. Vedanta Resources and its subsidiaries have failed to take action to adequately remedy the problems identified above. The companies involved have also failed to abide by internationally-accepted standards in relation to the impact of business on human rights - to provide information, consult with people and refine plans to ensure rights are not harmed. Both Orissa state and Indian national level authorities have also failed to protect the human rights of the communities. Government officials have provided misleading and incomplete information to communities on the benefits and risks of the refinery project. They have not properly assessed the potential impacts on human rights of either project and have not set up a genuine process of consultation with local people. Enforcement of regulations has been weak and inconsistent, leaving people exposed to ongoing harm



Comments

  • Hemant Jain on 01st July 2010:

    Here’s more on mining: http://development.thinkaboutit.eu/think3/post/the_great_indian_progress_juice._the_truth_about_mining/


  • Benno Hansen on 01st July 2010:

    The Power Of One: Grassroots Mapping the Spill

    “OilReporter is a free iPhone and Android application for Gulf residents, developed by Crisis Commons and built by web firm Intridea. Users who download the app can take a photo of their area and report what they see: “Oil all over beaches…smell is very perceptible,” wrote one user. “Thousands of tarballs on Okaloosa Island,” wrote another.

    The data is geotagged and flows into a database maintained by OilReporter, where government agencies, volunteer groups, and nonprofits can access it. So far the data hasn’t been used for much, but software architect Sean Soper, who led the development of the app, says he’s offered the data to the Unified Command Center in the Gulf. Talks are ongoing.”


  • Hussam Hussein on 02nd July 2010:

    I think it is a very good idea to involve everyone who cares on these issues to share with everybody what he sees. hopefully someone will take actions in the protection of the animals.


  • Jodi Bush on 02nd July 2010:

    Interesting idea - but why limit it to environmental abuses. What about other abuses, such as human rights? A global name and shame.

    I guess the only danger is that here is no recourse - anyone can say anything, about anyone, or any company with no need for substantive evidence.


  • Sylwia Presley on 03rd July 2010:

    Very good idea! Reminds me of some of the work MySociety.org does.


  • Hemant Jain on 03rd July 2010:

    @Jodi, yes, why limit it. This is just a simple idea and I am sure it will get better and better with everyone’s participation.
    And yes, anybody can say anything, but then the bigger companies are doing it. The Vedanta entry we commented on was done by Vedanta and presents a rosy picture. I guess the trick is to tag and put comments that are from good sources. Like we put the Amnesty report there.

    @Sylwia @Hussam, thanks!

    @Benno, wow that’s great! I think what is amazing is that protest has found its voice. It is global and much more powerful than ever before. Simply because one person can do much more than ever before.


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