Undisciplined Environments (UE) aims to become an influential crossroads for activists, researchers, journalists and anyone interested in the mutual imbrications of power, society, culture and ecology. Our commitment is to establish UE as a compelling virtual space to share ideas, stories, concepts, methods and strategies for the elaboration of the knowledges and practices needed to build more emancipatory socionatural worlds.
‘UN Climate Week in New York City was incredibly challenging. I was invited to sit with leaders I admire from Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Seychelles, and elsewhere. I learned firsthand about their losses, dislocations, and pain, all driven by the climate crisis. I was once more shaken from the comfort of my home in Maine and brought face to face with the people who are suffering and who demand action. It was a stark reminder that islanders, who contributed at most 1 percent of the world’s human-driven impact on climate, are paying with their lives while the greatest polluters do not act.’
Ana Agostino was invited to a meeting at the University of San Martín in Buenos Aires, where Ana Ines Heras, from CERN network invited her to talk on her work at the Defensoría and exchange on post development and feminist political ecology. A very interesting debate took place.
Within the framework of the Collaborative Research Programme Learning from and about Self-Managementand in agreement with the Institute for Social Inclusion and Human Development (INCLUIR), a meeting took place on September 27 at the University of San Martín in conversation with the former Public Protector of Montevideo*, Dr Ana Agostino.
The objective of the meeting was to exchange on projects associated to the research programme, on the framing of Community Economies, and on the activities implemented during the five years in the Defensoría in connection with her work as a researcher in different geographies of the world.
The topics presented as motivation for the exchange included a presentation on the Public Protector’s Office itself, its background, mandate, institutionality and strategies; the challenges presented by an intercultural approach to Human Rights; the concept of hospitality within the framework of a critical view of development and as a notion that allows other ways of being and doing in the world to be made visible and valued; the theoretical contribution of post development and feminist political ecology. In addition, several examples of concrete contributions to public policies were analysed, with an emphasis on sustainability, care, non-discrimination and citizen’s participation.
During the exchange, tensions were identified linked to the agency of several of these policies, the capacity for coordination between different actors, diverse imaginaries conditioned by culture, socio-economic factors, gender, identities, and institutional frameworks, among others. In general, the role of Public Protectors was valued as spaces for participation and the strengthening of democracy, leaving open the possibility for further debate on their institutional frameworks and possible mechanisms for greater citizen involvement.
*Defensora de Vecinas y Vecinos de Montevideo, Uruguay.
The workshop closed with a public art exhibition on Other (food) + (art) economies are possible!where the group shared some of their individual and collective work in a convivial space with food and drinks and with time for chats with the wider public.
Care and the Commons in Troubling times: confronting whiteness
Led by Constance Dupuis and Wendy Harcourt
Our paper looks at the everyday practice of feminist political ecology as not only practices rooted in one geographical place and culture but also as collective processes that are forming a global community network. We explore how feminist political ecology (FPE) aims to navigate racist structures, gender and class inequalities that determine struggles over rights and resources. Inspired by Donna Haraway’s staying with the trouble, our paper looks at how we confront whiteness in feminist political ecology. We address the ways in which white privilege and colonialism continue to be reproduced and how FPE can engage in critical conversations without centring the white experience.
Analyzing the Politics of the Everyday: A Feminist Political Ecology Perspective
There is ample evidence that neoliberal restructuring has led to precarious living conditions as well as to environmental degradation, both of which negatively affect community well-being worldwide. In response, many alternative initiatives have mushroomed at community level that aim to counter neoliberal policies through changing everyday practices of care and natural resource management. Feminist Political Ecology (FPE) is an approach that analyses these practices by taking into account power relations within different systems of oppression at different scales. With an emphasis on the importance of embodiment, place and scale, FPE aims to unveil the processes through which different actors interact, and the strategies and political mechanisms that community initiatives use to challenge the existing power relations based on exploitation, domination, and conflict. This panel seeks to introduce the theoretical tenets of FPE and to show how FPE contributes to feminist political science. Papers will be analyzing different social movements and initiatives around issues of social and environmental justice, natural resource management and care.
As well as pursuing transformations towards sustainability and environmental justice, FPE researchers are also pursing transformations of the ethics, methods, epistemologies and practices of research.
In this workshop participants were invited to join members and associates of the WEGO network to explore the key insights and perspectives that have come from the practices of doing FPE research. FPE researchers were invited to prepare short responses to questions which formed the basis of a facilitated discussion exploring key themes such as scholar-activism, ethics, scales and methods in relation to their work with struggles for environmental justice.
The discussion then broke off into a ‘world cafe’ where all participants joined conversations exploring key themes and shared their own research experiences. The workshop was recorded with the intention that it can become a learning resource.
We have been working hard to update our Global Environmental Justice group website with some conference outputs, so please take a look.
You can view and download the graphic records at this UEA Global
Environmental Justice flickr page.
You can view the conference videos at the Environmental Justice
Conference 2019 playlist on YouTube. We are still in the process of
editing some of the sessions, they will be added to this list as they
Some people had asked if the conference presentations would be available on the website. We have considered this and decided it won’t be possible. We would encourage delegates to contact specific presenters directly and request that presentations be shared that way. You can find contact email addresses for all presenters in the Abstract Book.
Background paper and follow up papers
The conference background paper remains on the conference website and please let us know if you have any particular feedback that you didn’t have a chance to share.
At the moment we have not planned any special issue publications but do feel free to pursue any ideas yourselves and let us know if we can
Looking Differently: Feminism, Politics and Coal Extraction
11 -21 July at ONCA gallery Brighton
WEGO members Siti Maimunah, Rebecca Elmhirst, Dian Ekowati, Alice Owen, Elona Hoover and ONCA Gallery manager Lydia Heath are organizing and co-curating an exhibition which seeks to ‘look differently’ at the politics of coal extraction. Taking an intersectional approach, they will bring together feminism, ecology, climate change and politics. Presenting photographs from Indonesia, the exhibition will include a workshop, reading group, film screening and talk by an Indonesian scholar-activist to create a space for challenging ‘north-south’ narratives and practicing climate justice.
Reading Group, 12 July 2019, time: 15.00 to 17.00
This reading group is an invitation to “think with” the exhibition and screening of the documentary film “Sexy Killers”, which is being co-convened by Indonesian scholar-activist Siti Maimunah in partnership with JATAM (Indonesian mining advocacy group) and colleagues from the University of Brighton and University of Passau in Germany in the WEGO Feminist Political Ecology network. The exhibition seeks to look differently at the politics of coal extraction, exploring these through intersectional feminist political ecology with the aim of fostering thought, action and solidarity across spaces and generations.
Reading: Ruder, Sarah-Louise, and Sophia Rose Sanniti. “Transcending the Learned Ignorance of Predatory Ontologies: A Research Agenda for an Ecofeminist-Informed Ecological Economics.” Sustainability 11, no. 5 (2019): 1479.
The reading can be downloaded by free access here: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/11/5/1479
ONCA is a Brighton based arts charity that bridges social and environmental justice issues. ‘With our public programme, we create inclusive spaces for collaborative learning, artist support and community solidarity.’
Suzanne MacDonald and Rob Snyder from Island Institute are presenting at “Strengthening Communities,” a conference in Aviemore hosted by the Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
The Strengthening Communities Conference Scotland brings together people who are at the heart of community-led development. The inaugural event was held in September 2017 and the second conference took place at the end of May 2019 at the MacDonald Aviemore Resort.
Five years ago, the Island Institute added the banner “Strengthening Communities” to their website. And late last month, Rob found himself being escorted—by a bagpiper, no less—to a keynote speaking engagement at the second “Strengthening Communities Conference” in the Scottish Highlands.
The conversations that took place over four days in Scotland echoed conversations in Maine’s island and coastal communities. The Highlands has a workforce housing crisis, broadband infrastructure is lacking, “depopulation” threatens its vitality, and its communities also are being undermined by a lack of local input into how the ocean is being developed.
The 2019 conference offered an opportunity to share ideas and experiences on the issues that matter most in community development. Its theme this year was ‘Ionnsachadh is fàs le chèile’, ‘learning and growing together’.
For more information, read Rob’s blog on the Island Institute website