DONATE NOW TO HELP UPGRADE LIBCOM.ORG

Ecological Challenges in Rojava: Perspectives for an ecological society

Ecological Challenges in Rojava: Perspectives for an ecological society

The Rojava region stretches along the Turkish-Syrian border, in the shadow of the Taurus Mountains, from Iraq almost to the Mediterranean Sea. In the south, the desert extends into the heart of Syria. The climatic zone in which Rojava is located is described as a steppe, between desert and a humid climate; it rains from October to April. With this climate, there are good conditions for agriculture. The areas along the banks of the Euphrates, Xabur and Tigris, as well as the entire canton of Afrîn, have fertile soils.

Rojava in the context of the colonial politics of syria and turkey

The consequences of the capitalist mentality and state violence against society and the environment are clearly visible in Rojava. The Ba’ath regime neither was nor is interested in an ecological society. Until 2012, Rojava was in a colonially dependent relationship with the Syrian Assad regime, which strongly affected the economic and environmental situation in the region. Maximum resource exploitation and high agricultural production rates were always given the highest priority. Both were geared for export to other regions of Syria and abroad. The systematic deforestation of forests enabled monocultures of wheat in the Cizire canton, of olives in Afrin, and a mix of both in Kobani. These monocultures shape the landscape of Rojava.

For decades it was forbidden to plant trees or grow vegetable gardens. Even today, the effects of this colonial policy are shaping people's lives and environment, creating a major contrast between Kurdish-majority and Arabmajority cities and areas. The population was kept dependent by repressive politics and underdevelopment of the region, as well as the prohibition against growing food for their own use, and systematically forced to emigrate and provide cheap labor to surrounding Syrian metropolises, such as Aleppo, Raqqa and Homs. Many worked there in the regime-supported raw material processing industry, which was supplied with raw materials that were also from Rojava.

Energy production and consumption, inadequate waste disposal, and massive use of chemicals in agriculture have heavily polluted the soil, air and water. However, the people of Rojava and the Democratic Self-administration are not only struggling with the environmental legacy of the Ba'ath regime. Another serious threat is the hostile policy of the Turkish state against Rojava. In addition to military attacks, the constant threat of invasion and an economic embargo, the construction of dams in Turkish occupied Northern Kurdistan and the massive extraction of groundwater for Turkish agriculture is a problem. As a result, there has been a dramatic decline in the amount of water flowing from the north to Rojavan rivers and a steady drop in the groundwater level. Moreover, it has been a common practice of the Turkish military for years to set fire to existing forests, especially olive trees in Afrin Canton. One goal of this policy is to take away people's livelihood, both economically and ecologically, and thus force them to leave their land.

The policies of the Syrian regime have led to a growing alienation of Rojava's people from nature. The social knowledge and practice of organic farming, the cultivation of vegetables and the knowledge of local flora and fauna have been lost. Thus today, the lack of skills and initiative of the people to organise, to cultivate and to develop their land is a problem which the revolution in Rojava has to solve.

Agriculture and Forestry

Monoculture and chemical fertilization

From the perspective of short-term income maximisation, monocultures appear more productive and easier to farm; however, long-term studies show that monocultures deplete the soil because they have a negative impact on its nutrient composition. Nutrients are removed from the soil and, ultimately, lost forever. In addition, monocultures lead to increased pest rates and often pose a problem for the water supply due to soil desiccation - extreme drying through loss of moisture. This means monocultures generally require an artificial water supply and high quantities of fertiliser, which is often produced chemically. On a global scale, the use of chemical fertilisers has so degraded the soils on which they are used that this form of agriculture can only be practiced for about fifty more harvest phases. After that, the soil for the cultivation of food will simply be unusable. The return to an organic fertiliser-based agricultural system is unavoidable - it is a question of when, not if.

Monocultures also have a negative impact on ecological diversity, on the sensitive interaction of flora and fauna. To combat the increased infestation by yield-reducing insects, plants and fungi, chemical poisons are used which, in combination with the fertiliser, have a powerful negative impact on soil and water quality. These problems can be observed in Rojava, especially in the Cizîrê Canton, which has a strong focus on wheat cultivation – the wheat is grown along the Turkish-Syrian border in a belt about ten kilometres wide. In Afrîn, agriculture is heavily focused on monocultures of olive trees, a policy that was driven by the regime for two decades before the revolution. Old forest stands were cut down to facilitate olive cultivation, which also significantly affected ecological diversity.

Use of pesticides

The use of pesticides in Rojava has risen sharply in the last 20 years. They are still imported from Turkey and China, via the Syrian regime. Before the Rojava Revolution, the regime forced farmers to use pesticides. Today, the effects of this policy are becoming clear: although there are no official studies, diseases such as cancer are particularly prevalent in the predominantly Kurdish-inhabited regions of Syria. This is almost certainly due to the high use of carcinogenic pesticides. Often the ingredients in the pesticides and their proper use were not specified. This was especially true of pesticides from Turkey, which were forced off their own domestic market because of harmful ingredients, but which continued to be exported to Syria and used in Rojava, in a practice known as "dumping."

Agricultural pests

Rojavan agriculture is affected by various pests, which has meant a reliance on pesticide use. The biggest problems are Colorado potato beetles, grasshoppers, and fungal infestations. These pests are not originally from Syria, but were imported; it's believed that the Turkish government is deliberately promoting the spread of pests from agricultural land in Turkey/Northern Kurdistan to Rojava, using chemicals that do not kill the pests but push them south into the nearby fields in Rojava.

Sustainable water use and diversification of agriculture according to the needs of the people
Organic farming in Rojava is not possible without overcoming monocultures and reducing water consumption. The Agricultural Protection Committee has taken a number of measures to diversify agricultural use and to promote the sustainable use of water.

To control the extraction of groundwater, all water wells were registered by the committee and further drilling of wells for agricultural use was prohibited. In addition, only 60 per cent of agricultural areas may be planted with crops requiring irrigation. These measures also have a positive effect on the diversification of agriculture, as more varieties of crops that require no additional irrigation are now being planted. These include lentils, chickpeas and beans. The cultivation of these types of crops now accounts for about 25 per cent of total agricultural land. Another 15 per cent is planted with vegetables and cotton, which require intensive irrigation. The largest part, around 50 per cent, will continue to be sown with wheat. The remaining 10 per cent is left fallow and allowed to regenerate for a year. In addition, farmers are encouraged to alternate the crops they plant, so that the soil can replenish itself. Although there is still a strong emphasis on the cultivation of wheat, a real difference can be seen from a few years ago, when crops such as lentils and beans accounted for no more than 10 per cent of the area.

In Afrîn, projects to diversify agriculture have also been promoted since the beginning of the revolution. Mango, grape and citrus fruit trees, which suit Afrin's Mediterranean climate, have been planted.

Another crucial change in Rojava's agriculture is the orientation of production toward local consumption and away from exports, both to other parts of Syria and abroad. For example, cotton cultivation has been reduced and vegetable cultivation increased. The canton of Cizîrê no longer exports food from Rojava, but does send some to the other cantons in Rojava – Afrîn and Kobanî – as well as to areas in need of help that have recently been liberated from the Islamic State.

Agroforestry

A system of different combinations of crops can address environmental problems caused by monoculture and increase yields – and a combination of field and tree crops can also help. This combination of agriculture and forestry is known as Agroforestry.

Agroforestry provides more habitat for animals and reduces erosion. Tree roots ensure the penetration of water into the soil, thus helping to ameliorate the lowering groundwater table. At the same time, trees reduce the amount of fertiliser necessary for the grain. The root system pulls nutrients and water from deeper layers of the soil upwards; with leaf fall, these nutrients re-enter the topsoil and then are taken up by the crops.

Cultivation of poplars and wheat or other cereals is practised in subtropical latitudes like Rojava's. Agroforestry can be practiced even in smaller units such as city gardens.. Layers of vegetation at different heights ensure optimal light reception and enable an increase in yields, in a relatively small space. Through an intelligent selection of cooperating plant communities, forest gardens can be built up. Ecological diversity also ensures flexibility and stability.

Urban agriculture: autonomy and food security in urban areas

Urban agriculture - planting former commercial or industrial sites in cities or rooftop gardens - could help decentralise Rojava's agricultural system. The city's fruit and vegetable needs, as well as the removal of its organic waste, can both be dealt with in this way. Decentralising some food production to households and communities in urban areas also increases their autonomy and provides improved food security. A good example is the Cuban capital Havana, where about 90 per cent of the fruit and vegetables consumed are cultivated in the city itself, and the small-scale urban agricultural areas are fertilised with organic household waste.

Nature reserves and afforestation - improving water quality and preserving biodiversity

The creation and preservation of nature reserves is one of the central activities of the Committee for Nature Conservation in the canton of Cizîrê. In the canton of Cizîrê, two protected areas have already been established: Hayaka, around Lake Sefan, and Mizgefta Nû.

Farming, hunting and fishing have been banned in the nature reserves. The ban now contributes to the improvement of drinking water quality, as well as the protection of various animal and plant species. A significant project in the nature reserves, and beyond, is reforestation in both rural and urban areas. In 2016 and 2017, the Conservation Area Committee planted some 8,000 trees, including in the Hayaka and Mizgefta Nu Nature Reserves and in the cities of Çilaxa and Hesekê. In the Hayaka Conservation Area, afforestation of a further 100,000 trees is planned for the next few years.

Water scarcity, water pollution and possible solutions

Water shortage in Rojava

The drinking-water supply to towns and villages comes mostly from springs and lakes. In the canton of Cizîrê, Lake Sefan supplies the cities of Dêrîk and Qamislo.

The supply of water for both household and agricultural use is one of the central problems in Rojava. Climate change has meant less rain and a shortening of the rainy season. Since the1990s, precipitation in the Cizîrê region has fallen by around 10 to 15 per cent. Turkey's policy of cutting off the water supply to Rojava, severely restricts the flow of water in the main rivers (such as the Euphrates and Xabur). In addition, many new wells have been dug in Turkey/Northern Kurdistan; this excessive use of water in both Turkey and Rojava, has seen the groundwater level drop significantly in recent decades. There are more than 30,000 wells in use in the canton of Cizîrê alone, and despite the attempt to register all of them, it can be assumed that this number is actually higher.

Only a few years ago, groundwater could be extracted from an average depth of 100 metres: it has now it has dropped to around 150 metres. The scarcity of groundwater has been exacerbated by water-intensive agriculture; as a result, the rivers in Rojava are running low on water, which has contributed to the dying off of forested areas along the river banks. Again, this only exacerbates the problem of water-capture.

The Islamic State (IS) has also contributed to the problem of water scarcity: as they were pushed back, IS blocked off springs and wells. This was a deliberate, vindictive policy of IS to harm the population and its agriculture, even in defeat.

The situation of the Xabûr river, which was the main water supply for the cities of Til Abiyad (Girê Spi) and Hesekê as well as for the agriculture in the surrounding region, is a good example of various converging problems: Turkey has brought the river flow almost to a stop; IS closed off other inflow sources; and locally introduced waste has heavily contaminated the water.

Water pollution and possible alternatives

Much wastewater in Rojava ends up in rivers, which is extracted for use in agricultural irrigation. Dumping of wastewater in rivers is also common in Northern Kurdistan. For example, the city of Nisêybîn, with a population of 100,000, puts its untreated waste into the Chax Chax River, which then flows through the city of Qamislo.

The uncontrolled discharge of wastewater and its subsequent use in agriculture is often a cause of disease and affects the ecological systems of the rivers; however, if properly treated, the wastewater could be made safe for agricultural use. Timely separation of grey-water (wastewater from sinks, showers etc.) and black-water (wastewater from toilets) makes this process a lot simpler. The use of grey-water is of particular importance to Rojava, as water supply is a problem in many regions and dependence on the policies of the Turkish state makes it difficult to improve the situation.

The use of grey-water in agriculture can also increase production. The required treatment level of grey-water prior to further use is decided on the basis of planned use. For example, it is possible to use grey-water for watering trees after a simple coarse filtration through a sieve. With a more intensive filtering through sand or similar material, the grey-water could also be used for the irrigation of crops.

Particularly in countries with high water scarcity, the use of grey-water is becoming increasingly important. For example, in parts of Australia, grey-water segregation is now legally required. Grey-water reuse not only reduces total water consumption, but also avoids the pollution of soil and rivers.

The use of black water for fertilization

Human waste is the largest source of nutrients available to agriculture from organic waste. The Stockholm Environment Institute estimates that one person's organic waste would be enough to grow 230 kilograms of grain annually. Urine is richer in nutrients (especially nitrogen) and more versatile, so it can be used on any kind of crop. Excrement also contains many nutrients and is excellent for improving soils; however, without a long composting, it should only be used to fertilise trees, shrubs, or grain for animal feed. After composting for at least a year, it can also be safely used to fertilise crops intended for human consumption.

The agricultural use of excrement also prevents it from entering the water, which is unavoidable with most conventional sewerage systems, and a major cause of pollution and disease. Once solid waste is mixed with water or urine, the resulting black-water becomes more difficult to treat. Treatment in most sewage systems focuses on re separating the solid and liquid materials. Black-water can also be used for composting and, after a reasonable amount of time, the compost would also be suitable for use in crops intended for human consumption.

There are many examples worldwide of the use of human waste as agricultural fertiliser. According to research by the South China Agricultural University, organic fertiliser was the main source of fertiliser in China until the 1980s, and about 30 per cent of fertiliser used in the country still comes from human waste. The problems associated with both chemical fertilisers and the search for alternatives to the resulting increase in wastewater prompted the authorities to begin returning to organic in the early 2000s. The collection of urine supplies the fertiliser for urban agriculture throughout China, and much urban sewage is transported to agricultural areas in pipes or tankers. In the city of Dongsheng new flats have urine-separating dry toilets. Excrement is disposed in buckets and used for compost, the urine is stored in tanks and directly used as fertilizer.

In Sweden, intensive research is being done on ecological sanitation and various systems have already been put in place. Since 2002, the Swedish municipality of Tanum (average population 36,000) has introduced an ecological hygiene policy that promotes the use of dry toilets and urine separation. The urine is stored in tanks and then delivered by tanker to local farmers, along with black water from septic tanks. The municipality of Trosa (11,000 inhabitants) near Stockholm stores its black-water for six months and then delivers it to farms outside the city, where it is used as fertiliser.

Energy production between renewable energies and fossil fuels

Petroleum extraction and processing

Most of Syria's oil fields are in Rojava, especially in Cizîrê Canton. As the policy of the regime was to locate all manufacturing industries in the metropolises of Syria, the processing of crude oil into fuel did not take place in Rojava but rather in the regime's industrial centres. With the revolution, Rojavan oil refining began. The biggest fuel needs are for emergency electricity (from small generators) and transport. In winter, diesel is also used to generate heat in household stoves.

Today, about 5 per cent of all oil produced in the Middle East comes from Rojavan fields; however, due to the lack of parts and the embargo, this production is conducted at a very low level technically. Since current demand exceeds the capacity of the existing refineries, much of the crude oil is processed only to a very basic level. This reinforces the negative impact of the already heavily polluting oil industry. Thus, production and transport are associated with pollution of the environment, soil, water and air. This damage is particularly visible in the ponds created by the extraction and processing of the oil. There are currently no technically or financially feasible methods for avoiding this ecological burden available in Rojava.

Electricity production

Electricity production in Rojava is based on three sources: hydroelectric power plants, natural gas, and the electricity supply based on diesel generators run at the communal level. The general production by power plants is roughly divided into approximately 75 per cent hydro, and 25 per cent natural gas (the by-product of oil extraction), although this ratio fluctuates. Most parts of Rojava don't have sufficient electricity. In cities like Dêrîk, electricity is only available for six hours a day, while in other cities, such as Kobanî, it's twelve hours. Despite the additional power supply within the communes, a permanent and nationwide supply is currently not possible.

The mainstays of Rojavan power generation are the hydroelectric power plants, which are operated at the Tischrin and Tabqa dams on the Euphrates. The electricity is then transferred to the cities via long power lines. Theoretically, full power supply for Rojava would be possible from the existing hydropower plants if they were operated at full capacity – but they're not, for two reasons.

First, there is a lack of parts necessary for the repair of the plants. The war in Syria, which has been raging for more than seven years, has severely affected these vital power generation systems. The destroyed infrastructure, power lines, and substations still prevent the full supply of electricity to many regions of Rojava. Their reconstruction is a difficult undertaking given the economic embargo and the lack of financial resources.

Secondly, electricity generation is heavily dependent on the water policy of the Turkish state, because the key rivers have their sources in Turkey. In recent years, the Turkish government has increasingly promoted the construction of dams, which has had a profoundly detrimental impact on Syria's water supply - and which consolidates and expands Turkish geopolitical power. Despite contractual agreements between the Syrian and Turkish governments for the passage of fixed amounts of water, Turkey uses its control of water to influence political developments in Syria. Since the democratic forces in northern Syria (supported by the political structures of the Kurdish liberation movement) have put their system of democratic self-government into practice, the policy of the Turkish government has become even more restrictive.

The ecological and health consequences of the use of fossil fuels for heat and power generation, combined with unreliability of water flow based on the power politics of the Turkish state, is yet another reason for the decentralisation of energy production.

Renewable energy and ecological construction

The geographical position of Rojava and the climatic conditions in the region make it suitable for various forms of renewable energy production.

Inexpensive and simple systems of water heating by solar artery systems on roofs, power generation by solar energy with photovoltaic technology, wind energy etc. could be the first steps in a decentralised energy system. This would reduce people's dependency on both the centralised hydro electricity system and fossil fuels.

The way buildings are built plays an important role in saving energy: the less energy consumed, the less must be produced. In Rojava, many smaller buildings are made of natural materials such as clay, wood and stone, which, compared to standard building materials like concrete, steel and cement, cause less pollution and use less energy during manufacture. In addition, this ecological construction is about one-third cheaper than conventional architecture. Houses that are built in this way are also easier to cool in the summer and to heat in the winter, cutting down on power and fuel costs.

Waste disposal, recycling and composting

Recycling

In recent years, a functioning waste disposal system has been set up in most of the cities of Rojava. The waste is brought from individual households or streets to nearby landfills and burned there. No municipal waste separation or recycling system exists in Rojava. As a result, water and soil quality are severely impacted, leading to health problems (especially in children). The particles that are created during the incineration of the waste pollute soil and water and spread through the air, including to agricultural land, where they enter the food chain.

Recycling is an alternative to this form of waste disposal, and some projects are currently being considered by the self government bodies, including a paper recycling plant. This would involve separation of paper waste from other types of refuse at the household level, which would be re-used in paper-making. The project, estimated to cost $70 million (U.S.), is still in its infancy because of the lack of funding.

There are also much simpler and cheaper methods of recycling. The recycling of hard plastic, for example, is not complicated and can be done with simple machines. This enables small-scale and decentralised forms of recycling that are already practiced in many parts of the world.

Composting: organic fertilizer for rural and urban agriculture

The use of organic waste also plays an important role in an ecological society. Animal manure is already used in agriculture in Rojava; however, this use can and should be expanded. The chemical fertiliser used in Rojava costs $35 million (U.S.) a year. All this chemical fertiliser must be imported, and this creates a significant dependency on the various regimes in the region. More efficient recycling of organic waste would greatly reduce - if not entirely eliminate – the need to import chemical fertiliser, increase agricultural production, and increase farmer autonomy. From a global perspective, the transition from chemical to organic fertiliser must be done as soon as possible: without fundamental changes, the current form of agriculture canonly be practiced for about the next fifty harvest phases.

Composting requires the creation of favourable conditions for the decomposition of organic waste into biologically stable humic substances, which can then be used for agriculture and forestry. In addition to its nutrient content, compost increases soil fertility by improving soil structure (improving the mobility of air, water and nutrients in the soil), adding beneficial microbes, and increasing the availability of nutrients. The use of organic waste for agriculture is common in many countries, and simple precautions can minimise any potential health risks. Its use in agriculture and forestry saves money, prevents soil erosion, and reduces pollution. Composting is of particular strategic importance to a society whose access to chemical fertiliser can be easily curtailed by governments and corporations.

About 50 per cent of all household waste is organic. On average, every person produces around half a kilogram of compostable waste per day. After the natural processes of composting, this amount is reduced to 50 grams of ready-made compost. Small-scale composting in individual households is easier in rural areas but also possible in cities. This is particularly the case when used in conjunction with urban farming - as in Cuba, where it is an important part of the country's food production. It is also possible to develop large-scale composting facilities for rural agriculture. This is common in Western countries, where household organic waste is collected and converted into agricultural compost. For a city the size of Dêrîk (with a population of about 40,000 people), this would mean a daily intake of 20 tonnes of organic waste for the daily production of two tonnes of finished compost.

There are many different types of composting systems, such as simple compost piles or boxes. As long as certain conditions (including temperature and humidity) are regularly checked and adjusted if necessary, the compost will decompose until it is ready for use.

Traffic and air pollution

The majority of diesel and gasoline consumption in Rojava is for transport, which is also the main source of air pollution, especially in the larger cities. The expansion of public transport is one way of minimising this impact.

Urban air quality can also be improved by planting trees. One of the central strategies of municipalities, in collaboration with the committees responsible for ecology, is to plant more trees in urban areas, and to maintain existing ones. Current projects include the planting of one of the main thoroughfares in the city of Qamislo, which will cost $60,000. In the city of Tabqa, which was liberated from IS in the summer of 2017, a campaign will be started this year to replace the urban tree stock, 75 per cent of which has dried up or been totally destroyed. This damage to the tree population has its roots in the failed policies of the city administration under the Syrian regime. The war in urban areas also had an impact on the stock of trees at the municipal level. Because of the climate and water shortage reforestation is a labour-intensive process.

Projects such as these provide better urban air quality, give shade in the summer months (when temperatures can rise to 50 degrees Celsius or about 120 degrees Fahrenheit), create living spaces for birds, and improve the quality of life in general. As part of the ecological work of the self-government, the communes and local populations in the canton of Cizîrê are currently being surveyed about their particular needs for trees. More trees will then be planted in communities on the strength of this information.

Effects of the war

The effects of the war on the ecological situation in Rojava have been considerable, in particular the pollution of the soil and water by ammunition. The use of depleted uranium shells by the international coalition causes severe health problems, and their residue lingers in the environment for a long time. Mortar ammunition, rockets and other explosive weapons include heavy metals and TNT, which are carcinogenic. When these weapons were used in urban areas, e.g. in Kobanî and Hesekê, these substances mixed with dust from the destroyed buildings and found their way into citizens' respiratory tracts, into the water, and onto agricultural land. From there they found their way into the food. The long-term consequences are as yet unknown.

One of the Islamic State's tactics for protecting itself from air raids was to start large fires with thick smoke. These were produced by the burning of oil, along with other materials such as plastics, which heavily polluted the air, soil and water.

Further pollution of the air, water and soil resulted from the destruction of industrial facilities, which released toxic gases and chemicals. Though the impact this will have on Rojava remains to be seen, estimates by the non-governmental organisation PAX claim this burden on the environment will have long-term health effects.

Rojava — a democratic ecological society under construction

Local self-sufficiency and cooperatives “collectivize our land, water and energy” (Öcalan) The relationships between production and use, city and country, centre and periphery, must be rethought and redesigned to build an ecological society. In Rojavan society, a cooperative, ecological and decentralised mode of production is the goal. All assets, or natural resources, must be socialised, and the economy democratised. It is crucial that production be decided on the basis of a democratic process of negotiation. It must be based on the possibilities of an intact, balanced ecological system and on the capabilities of the people themselves.

The communes are based on collective self sufficiency. This eliminates the separation between the places of production and use, reduces long transport routes, and guarantees security of supply to the people. Also, it allows for the growth and retention of collective knowledge about agriculture, treatment and harvest.

In contrast to capitalist modes of production, cooperatives are able to produce according to people's needs, since they need not be subject to the logic of constant growth and profit maximisation. It is also possible for them to take into account long term consequences for the natural world and design production with this in mind; indeed, care for the community is one of the seven cooperative principles. In cooperative forms of economics, knowledge is shared among people working together, as there is no classical separation or hierarchy of individual work steps, but rather a holistic approach.

The Rojavan system builds on community self government in communes and production in cooperatives. It's intended that all resources, such as water, energy and land, become common goods. There are already 57 cooperatives, comprising around 8,700 families, in Cizîrê Canton alone.

Between claim and reality — Rojava and the ecological society
The environmental challenges in Rojava/Northern Syria are enormous. Rojava exemplifies how ecological problems are interwoven with social and economic issues, how centralisation, capitalist economics, and the exploitation of humans and nature are interconnected.

For the foreseeable future, some contradictions cannot be resolved, but the negative effects can be minimised in the short term and the population can be informed about the dangers. Appropriate measures can be implemented without major investments of resources or money. The measures taken by the structures of the democratic self administration for dealing with the ecological problems aim at the protection of existing ecosystems, reforestation, and the strengthening of ecological awareness. These are first steps, but they are far from sufficient.

We have shown some of the processes that would move the communes in Rojava closer to democratic autonomy in an ecological and decentralised way. To find a way out of the dead end of the ecological catastrophe brought about by capitalist modernity requires effort and the courage to break new ground. The first steps have been taken, but the need for a social-ecological revolution means there is still much to do.