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Open access

The 2020 paradox

A multisystem crisis in search of a comprehensive response

Aleida Azamar Alonso and Carmen Maganda Ramírez

In most of the world, we follow a production model based on economic premises from the middle of the nineteenth century, including processes of accumulation, monopolization, and privatization of a territory's common goods and of life itself, in order to guarantee the reproduction of capital. International regulations and laws that protect nature are mostly limited to reaction and repair of environmental damages caused by anthropocentric activities in the most vulnerable and impoverished nations in the world but do not often question the damage to populations, especially indigenous peoples and their ancestral territories. Latin America exemplifies this, given that the region has experienced a series of political, economic, environmental, and now health crises as it has become the epicenter of the current COVID-19 pandemic (Pan American Health Organization, PAHO, 2021).

Open access

Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

The American continents have become one of the epicenters of the COVID-19 pandemic. Statistically, it is the world region which has been impacted the most by the pandemic. By August 3, 2021, over two million people have been confirmed to have died from COVID-19, which represents roughly half of the total number of confirmed global deaths from the disease (Statista, 2021). Moreover, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) estimates that the economies of this region will contract by 5.3% in 2021, which will plunge almost 30 million inhabitants of this world region into poverty (ECLAC, 2021).

Open access

Carlos A. Rodríguez Wallenius

Abstract

This article analyzes the extractivist and dispossession modalities in the Mexican neodevelopmental proposal to face the multiple crises accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the qualitative narrative method applied to social processes, four infrastructure and extractivist megaprojects are analyzed. Neodevelopmental policies of the current government insist on carrying out works as a strategy to create jobs, reactivate the economy, and promote well-being, especially for the southeast region with high rates of socioeconomic inequality. The findings point to an increase in investment and job creation and a rejection by various communities and organizations that consider that their ways of life are being threatened by the efforts of the neodevelopmental government to build megaprojects before and during the pandemic.

Resumen

Este artículo analiza las modalidades extractivistas y de despojo en la propuesta neodesarrollista mexicana para enfrentar las crisis múltiples acentuadas por la pandemia de la COVID-19. Con el método cualitativo narrativo aplicado a procesos sociales, se analizan cuatro megaproyectos de infraestructura y extractivistas. Las políticas neodesarrollistas del gobierno actual insisten en realizar obras como una estrategia para crear empleos, reactivar la economía y fomentar el bienestar, especialmente para la región sureste con altos índices de desigualdad socioeconómica. Los hallazgos señalan un incremento en la inversión y en la generación de empleos pero también un rechazo de varias comunidades y organizaciones que consideran que sus formas de vida están siendo amenazadas frente a los esfuerzos del gobierno neodesarrollista por construir megaproyectos antes y durante la pandemia.

Résumé

Cet article analyse les modalités extractivistes et de dépossession incluses dans la proposition néo-développementaliste mexicaine afin de faire face aux crises multiples accentuées par la pandémie de Covid-19. Avec la méthode narrative qualitative appliquée aux processus sociaux, quatre mégaprojets d'infrastructures et d'extraction sont analysés. Les politiques néo-développementalistes du gouvernement actuel insistent sur la réalisation de travaux comme stratégie pour créer des emplois, réactiver l'économie et promouvoir le bien-être, en particulier pour la région du sud-est qui connaît des taux élevés d'inégalités socio-économiques. Les résultats indiquent une augmentation des investissements et de la création d'emplois, mais aussi un rejet de la part de diverses communautés et organisations qui considèrent que leurs modes de vie sont menacés par les efforts du gouvernement néo-développementaliste pour construire des mégaprojets avant et pendant la pandémie.

Restricted access

Dumpster Diving for a Better World

Explaining Unconventional Protest and Public Support for Actions against Food Waste

Benedikt Jahnke and Ulf Liebe

Abstract

Food waste is a major challenge in affluent societies around the globe. Based on theories of protest and a mixed methods design combining qualitative, experimental, and survey research, we study the motives for, frequency of, and public support for dumpster diving in Germany. We find that dumpster diving as an unconventional daily protest action is related to more general protest against capitalist societies. It is motivated by both altruistic and egoistic concerns. The perceived legitimacy of violence and self-identity explain the frequency of dumpster diving. A factorial survey experiment with activists and the general public reveals strong similarities between the views of activists and those of other citizens in strong support of dumpster diving. This study demonstrates the usefulness of combining different empirical methods to study food activism.

Open access

Denise Soares

Abstract

The article approaches community water management in the rural town of El Mirador, Puebla, Mexico, from the political ecology perspective. To answer the question of how community water committees face the challenges of water management at the local level, we combine quantitative and qualitative methodologies. The results indicate that community households face lack of access to water, and the community committee manages the water from normative, technical, ecological and symbolic spheres, without having technical or financial support from the municipality, acting autonomously. We conclude that the norms established for the management of the resource of common use are consensual, which has fostered both sustainability in the use of water and the strengthening of community ties.

Resumen

Este artículo aborda la gestión comunitaria del agua en la localidad rural El Mirador, Puebla, México, desde la perspectiva de la ecología política. Para contestar la pregunta: ¿cómo los comités comunitarios enfrentan los retos de la gestión del agua a nivel local? combinamos metodología cuantitativa y cualitativa, dado que una permite generalizar y otra profundizar relaciones. Los resultados indican que los hogares de la comunidad enfrentan la carencia de acceso al agua y el comité comunitario gestiona el líquido desde ámbitos normativos, técnicos, ecológicos y simbólicos, sin contar con el apoyo del municipio. Concluimos que las normas establecidas para el manejo del recurso de uso común son consensuadas, lo cual ha propiciado tanto sostenibilidad en el uso del agua como el fortalecimiento de lazos comunitarios.

Résumé

Cet article évoque la gestion de l'eau dans la communauté rurale d'El Mirador, au Mexique, abordée dans une perspective d'écologie politique. Il répond à la question suivante : comment les comités communautaires font-ils face aux défis locaux de la gestion de l'eau? Nous combinons les méthodologies quantitative et qualitative, l'une nous permettant de généraliser et l'autre, d'approfondir les relations. Les résultats indiquent que les familles assument le défaut d'accès à l'eau et que le comité communautaire gère les aspects normatifs, techniques, écologiques et symboliques, sans soutien de la municipalité. Nous concluons que les normes établies autour de la gestion de l'eau sont consensuelles, ce qui a favorisé la durabilité dans l'utilisation de l'eau et le renforcement des liens communautaires.

Open access

Edith Miriam García Salazar and Mario Enrique Fuente Carrasco

Abstract

This article addresses the category of ecological-distributive conflict from The Global Environmental Justice Atlas project to explain the emergence of environmental justice movements as a response to a certain distribution of pollution burdens or access to environmental resources. The theoretical approach addresses environmentalism of the poor and adds a historical review to understand such an existing paradox. The empirical work was carried out in the Valle del Mezquital, where the discharge of wastewater generated in the Metropolitan Area of the Valle de Mexico presents a paradoxical situation: some farmers perceive the reception of contaminated water as positive. The analysis includes a reflection on the criteria for evaluating conflict since the emergence of COVID-19.

Resumen

Este artículo retoma la categoría de conflicto ecológico-distributivo del proyecto The Global Environmental Justice Atlas para explicar la emergencia de movimientos de justicia ambiental como una respuesta ante determinada distribución de las cargas de la contaminación o en el acceso a los recursos ambientales. El planteamiento teórico aborda el ecologismo de los pobres, más una revisión histórica para comprender tal paradoja. El trabajo empírico se llevó a cabo en el Valle del Mezquital, cuyo vertimiento de aguas residuales generadas en la Zona Metropolitana del Valle de México presenta una situación paradójica a la categoría señalada: algunos campesinos perciben como positiva a la recepción de agua contaminada. El análisis incluye una reflexión de los criterios de valoración del conflicto a partir de la emergencia del COVID-19.

Résumé

Depuis le projet The Global Environmental Justice Atlas, la catégorie de conflit écologique et distributif propose d'expliquer l'émergence de mouvements de justice environnementale comme une réponse à une certaine répartition des effets de la pollution ou à l'accès aux ressources environnementales. Dans la Vallée du Mezquital, le déversement des eaux usées de la Zone métropolitaine de la Vallée de Mexico présente une situation paradoxale par rapport à ce qui a été signalé dans le projet mentionné : certains paysans perçoivent comme positive la réception d'eau polluée. Les apports de l'écologisme des pauvres, ainsi qu'une révision de l'histoire permettent de comprendre ce paradoxe. La question de savoir si l'émergence du Covid-19 peut modifier les critères d'évaluation de ce conflit est également examinée.

Restricted access

Not Lost but Found

Rebuilding Relations and Reclaiming Indigenous Food Systems

Keitlyn Alcantara

Gideon Mailer and Nicola Hale. 2019. Decolonizing the Diet: Nutrition, Immunity, and the Warning from Early America. New York: Anthem Press.

Gina Rae La Cerva. 2020. Feasting Wild: In Search of the Last Untamed Food. Berkeley, CA: Greystone Books.

Open access

Radio Tsinaka en pandemia

Comunicación contra el despojo y por la vida

Ana Laura Salgado Lázaro, Jéssica Malinalli Coyotecatl Contreras, and Yeyectzin Moreno Del Angel

Restricted access

Peter M. Haswell

Abstract

Overconsumption presents a major obstacle to social and environmental sustainability. Systemic social, legal, and economic strategies are absolutely necessary, but individuals are still accountable for their lifestyle choices and associated environmental footprints. Anti-consumption (rejection, reduction, reclamation) has its limitations, but could contribute to pro-environmental change, helping resolve biodiversity and climate crises. Regardless of societal consumption patterns, individuals can still make great gains in well-being and personal development by upholding their environmental and social values, minimizing personal resource consumption. Challenging the cultural norms of overconsumption requires individuals to employ mental fortitude in attempts to act justly toward the entire community of life. As a species, given our rational capabilities and ability to meet our basic needs, we are highly capable of bettering ourselves and our environment.

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Toying with Animism

How Learning to Play Might Help Us Get Serious About the Environment

Timothy Stacey

Abstract

Scholars increasingly stress that getting serious about the environment will require a shift from Abrahamic and naturalist imaginaries that distinguish between culture and nature to, variously, “ecospirituality,” “dark green religion,” or animism. The first part of this article critiques this work on the grounds that it reifies rigid distinctions between “belief systems” or “ontologies,” and thus misrepresents both what needs to be aimed at and how to get there. In search of an alternative, the next two parts of this article draw on autoethnographic findings with non-Indigenous people involved in resisting resource extraction. I suggest that playfulness is an important component both of the imaginaries to be found among resisters and of the means of arriving at those imaginaries.