Political Ecology Network

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Announcing POLLEN18: Political Ecology, the Green Economy, and Alternative Sustainabilities

Second Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN)

POLLEN18: Political Ecology, the Green Economy, and Alternative Sustainabilities

When: 20-22 June 2018
Where: Oslo and Akershus University College, Oslo, Norway
Organised by: The Political Ecology Network (POLLEN) Secretariat; Oslo and Akershus University College; Centre for Environment and Development (SUM), University of Oslo; Noragric, Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Paper/Panel Submission Deadline: 15 December 2017
Conference Website: https://politicalecologynetwork.com/pollen-biannual-conference/

Over the past two decades, political ecologists have provided extensive critiques of the privatization, commodification, and marketization of nature, including of the new forms of accumulation and appropriation that these might facilitate under the more recent guise of the so-called green economy. These critiques have often demonstrated that such approaches can retain deleterious implications for certain vulnerable populations across the developing world and beyond, including in urban centres and within the interstices of the ‘Global North’. With few exceptions, however, political ecologists have paid decidedly less attention to exploring, critically engaging, and ‘planting the seed’ of alternative initiatives for pursuing both sustainability and socio-environmental justice. Surely, many scholars have begun to both support and study movements pursuing alternative socio-ecological relations rooted in critical traditions such as degrowth, postcolonialism, feminism, anarchism, and eco-Marxism. Yet much more could be done to understand and illuminate the prospects for these movements, as well as potential sources of tension and synergy between and amongst them. Continue reading


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Only local Amazonians can bring true sustainable development to their forest

Authors: Jos Barlow, Alexander C. Lees, Erika Berenguer, James Angus Fraser, Joice Ferreira

The Brazilian government has earmarked a vast tract of Amazonian land for mining. The so-called “Renca” reserve sits in the last great wilderness area in the eastern Amazon and contains lots of unique rainforest wildlife. The controversial decision to allow mining has since been rewritten to clarify that development cannot take place on indigenous lands that lie within the “Renca”, and then put on hold by a federal judge, pending support from congress. Continue reading

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What’s missing from Ostrom? Plural rationality and the commons

Author: Benedict Singleton

Designing and maintaining common-pool resource (CPR) institutions (often referred to as ‘the commons’) has long been a concern of social science. In this body of work the name of Elinor Ostrom has loomed large. Since 1990, her eight design principles for CPR institutions have proven influential across numerous disciplines, in part, because of its rigorous use of empirical examples drawn from around the world and because it presents an alternative to pessimistic predictions that homo economicus cannot cooperate effectively around the earth’s natural resources (Ostrom 1990). Continue reading

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Weaponizing Nature

By Patrick Bigger and Benjamin Neimark*

Military excursions into low carbon fuels is not a case of military greenwashing but rather one of ‘weaponizing nature’, an approach perpetuating an interventionist US foreign policy linked to environmental change.

If we ever think about the military as environmental actor, it is most likely related to the damage to nature wrought by conflict and war. From nuclear sacrifice zones in the Pacific to neo-imperial wars undertaken in part for control of oil, the most powerful militaries in the world have outsized access to resources and ever-expanding environmental impacts. While political ecologists have helped us understand the environmental causes and consequences of military actions, a path less taken is to look at how militaries understand themselves as environmental actors considering changes in geopolitical and environmental conditions. Continue reading

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What can we do about the media? Own it, suggests Vanessa Baird.

Author: Vanessa Baird

We are living in a time full of threats – and unprecedented possibilities.

It’s hard to imagine a more toxic combination than fake news and climate denial.

And when the two become the official policy of the most powerful nation in the world, it’s hard not to believe that we are all going to hell in a handcart.

So what’s there to be positive about? Continue reading

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Imagining a transformative environmental justice research agenda

By: Hannah Gray

Across the globe, environmental justice struggles over the right way to govern and use natural resources are increasing, and so is the attention being paid to studying and understanding these environmental conflicts. The Global Environmental Justice Group at the University of East Anglia (UEA) is a case in point, where empirical approaches to analysing environmental justice struggles are being used to analyse a variety of issues in different locations, including water resources in the middle East, marine protected areas in India, indigenous territories in Latin America, forest governance in Laos, and nature conservation in East Africa. Continue reading

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Nature is priceless, which is why turning it into ‘natural capital’ is wrong


By and

For: The Conversation

An increasingly popular line of argument is that, by turning nature into capital, it is possible to reconcile a capitalist growth economy with conservation. In this way, proponents assert, conservation can be expressed in a language that economists, policy-makers and CEOs understand.

But this strategy is not just self-defeating. It is a dangerous illusion that masks the way capitalist growth undermines conservation itself.

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