Before I get to what I have been up to since my last post, here is a brief (yet intriguing!) history of CEDHA and the projects they focus on. During my lunch with Daniel, he explained how CEDHA started and the transformations it went through before becoming the organization it is today. Husband and wife team Daniel Taillant and Romina Picolleti started CEDHA in 1999, with a big office downtown and a much larger permanent staff. When Romina was selected to be Minister of the Environment, she took with her much of the CEDHA staff. Daniel was asked to take over as Executive Director, and as one of his conditions he wanted to disband the central office, preferring a more virtual approach. Which brings us to today. CEDHA only has a handful of permanent staff, and relies on the work of volunteers all over the world, some of whom travel here to Cordoba.
CEDHA focuses on many different areas, but the main focus is of course the intersection of environmental degradation and human rights. One the themes CEDHA focuses on is corporate and governmental transparency, through local communities’ participation and access to information. Forestry, mining, and climate change are just a few of the major areas CEDHA works in.
Argentina has one of the largest shale gas deposits in the world, ranking third behind USA and China, and as the natural gas industry worldwide continues to grow, so do Argentina’s efforts to tap into this huge resource. However, as has been widely publicized, Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is not without it’s dangers. Even Argentina’s recent nationalization the YPF unit of Spanish company Repsol has been rife with controversy.
As Argentina gears up to play a larger role in the global shale gas market, CEDHA is similarly preparing to provide the region and the world with valuable information regarding the Fracking process, and working toward greater transparency between the government, the industry, and the people. This will include a new website dedicated solely to Fracking, a sort of hub to direct those interested to anything they might need or want to know about Fracking and the environmental impact. Currently I am focusing on creating a map of all the Fracking sites in the region, with as much information about who the major players are for each site. I’m also combing through all the reports and articles out there on Fracking, both in Argentina and around the world, to compile a massive “bibliography” of useful sources on the topic. I’ll be sure to let you all know when I have something new to report!