Watch These Documentaries to Better Understand SE Asia

The environmental movement is a global struggle against big corporations and corrupted governments, which means each struggle has commonalities while also being unique to its region. Over at Global Voices they compiled a list of documentaries that cover various environmental movements in south east Asia. Some of the content in the films will make you feel sad; however, it’s important to know what’s going on and that people around the world are sticking up for what’s right.

In “This Is Our Land”, Filipino filmmaker Noni Abao chronicles how local indigenous communities in Nueva Vizcaya, northern Philippines, are fighting against years of environmental degradation by calling for the closure of OceanaGold, one of the largest producers of gold and copper in the world. This documentary won the grand prize in the 2020 Gawad Cultural Center of the Philippines Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video and was the second-place winner in the 2020 Yale Environment 360 Video Contest. Since Abao finished filming, dozens of the activists who organized the road blockade have been arrested following clashes with police and company representatives.

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Keystone XL is Dead, For Reals This Time

Standing Rock #DAPL
Protesting works!

The absolutely foolish plan to make a massive pipeline to transport a heavily subsidized non-renewable energy source is dead. It is really dead. We’ve heard before that the project is over, only for it to come back to life. Obama and Trudeau both worked hard to ensure that future generations would have to suffer the ecological damage done by the project, yet in the end it was volunteer activists who won.

The pipeline was meant to open nearly a decade ago, and thanks to the efforts of so many groups it never will. The opposition to the project started small and now it’s a movement that is hoping to block other illogical gifts to the oil industry.

Keep protesting, never give up!

It’s easy to forget now how unlikely the Keystone fight really was. Indigenous activists and Midwest ranchers along the pipeline route kicked off the opposition. When it went national, 10 years ago this summer, with mass arrests outside the White House, pundits scoffed. More than 90 percent of Capitol Hill “insiders” polled by The National Journal said the company would get its permit.

But the more than 1,200 people who were arrested in that protest helped galvanize a nationwide — even worldwide — movement that placed President Barack Obama under unrelenting pressure. Within a few months he’d paused the approval process, and in 2015 he killed the pipeline, deciding that it didn’t meet his climate test.

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G7 Nations Agree on Minimum Corporate Tax

money

Corporations love keeping their shareholders money instead of contributing to society, and it’s the role of governments to ensure that corporations do their part. Usually this comes in the form of taxation. Multinational corporations create multiple subsidiaries to obfuscate and obstruct the ability of governments to collect tax, it’s the corporate equivalent of dining and dashing.

A recent G7 meeting revealed that the largest economies in the world are going to enact a global minimum taxation rate for corporations. Having an agreed-upon minimum will remove the incentive to corporations to create subsidiaries to avoid taxation, while increasing the wealth of nations.

The rules on making multinationals pay taxes where they operate – known as “pillar one” of the agreement – would apply to global companies with at least a 10% profit margin. 

Twenty percent of any profit above that would be reallocated and taxed in the countries where they operate, according to the G7 communiqué. 

In the case of the UK, for example, more tax revenue would be raised from large multinationals and would help pay for public services.

The second “pillar” of the agreement commits states to a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15% to avoid countries undercutting each other.

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Three Years of Privacy Thanks to the GDPR

computer screen
Three years ago today the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was enacted in the EU to protect you from morally questionable digital surveillance, and trust me, we’re all better off for it. Essentially the GDPR stops large companies from tracking you across the web and using that information to change your behaviour. When companies are collecting data they must disclose what they are collecting and why, plus they need to ensure that the data is well protected.

The immediate success of the GDPR led other jurisdictions to follow with similar policies to protect people, including in Japan, Chilie, Kenya, and more.

Over the BBC they cheekily posted a list of the biggest offenders of the GDPR (which shows why the legislation is needed).

4. H&M (35.3m euros)

H&M was fined by German regulators in 2020 after it was found to have been secretly monitoring hundreds of its employees.

If workers took holiday or sick leave, they were required to attend a meeting with senior staff at the retail giant on their return.

These meetings were recorded, and made accessible to H&M managers without the knowledge of staff.

The data collected from the interviews was used to make a “detailed profile” of workers, which then influenced decisions concerning their employment.

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Carbon Pricing in Canada is Constitutional

Phramacy

A few years ago the federal government in Canada started charging for carbon wastage by people and companies. The 2018 Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act was passed to ensure that every province in Canada is doing the bare minimum to avoid catastrophic climate change. This led Conservative leaders of a couple provinces to challenge the government’s ability to do this (yes, the same Conservative party which recently decided to not acknowledge climate change, and the same Ontario Conservative government which paid millions of dollars to illegally break a cap and trade business deal with California and Quebec, sigh). The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of the federal government’s approach to reducing carbon emissions by putting a price on carbon.

Carbon pricing isn’t taking direct climate action, but it’s a good step in the right direction and signals to the world that Canada is at least willing to do something.

The full impact of this ruling will be felt over the coming years as this opens up more climate-friendly action and cases to move forward.

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