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Irida Tsevreni

This article investigates the potential of contemplative learning through mindfulness in the framework of environmental education. Human alienation from the rest of nature and the separation from the more-than-human others are approached under the lens of eco-phenomenology. Fifty undergraduate students at a Pedagogical Department experienced mindfulness techniques in natural places and reflected on their experiences. The research results revealed that mindfulness contributed to the sensorial and embodied experience of nature as well as to their interaction and participation in the more-than-human world. However, difficulties and challenges also emerged. Contemplative environmental learning could contribute to the healing of human alienation from the rest of nature and the establishment of an embodied, sensorial empathy for all living creatures.

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The Coronavirus as Nature-Culture

Talking about Agency

Annette Schnabel and Bettina Ülpenich

We analyze how the coronavirus is fabricated at the interface between science and the public in order to be addressable by political strategies. By means of a content analysis of Christian Drosten’s podcasts, we follow (1) how SARS-CoV-2 is constructed in order to be understood by non-scientists, (2) how the specialist becomes a public expert, and (3) how this co-fabrication takes place. This provides insight into the “fabrication” of meaning and of how uncertainty is transformed into knowledge during times of major risk through focusing on the perception of the virus itself. Out of a perspective of speech act theory-informed assemblage thinking, the analysis emphasizes the role of the known-unknown and of the temporality of developments in formatting both virus and expert.

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Jodie Asselin, Gabriel Asselin, and Flavia Egli

The term forest can signify many different physical realities. However, discourse analysis of Irish National and European Union forestry-related documents indicates ambiguity around this term is often cultivated rather than clarified. We argue here that policy language often embraces the multiple potential affordances within the term forest as a means of discursively bridging contradictions between economic and conservation goals. While this technique increases the readability and acceptability of such documents by diverse user groups and government bodies, it mutes the on-the-ground tensions of what forests mean for locals. Moreover, cultivating ambiguity favors the status quo through circumventing points of contradiction and shifting the work of interpretation and application of such documents to those on-the-ground, therefore perpetuating existing power differentials. As forests are central to resource management and responses to climate change, addressing this tendency is crucial to finding meaningful and place-specific environmental solutions.

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Law Abiding Citizens

On Popular Support for the Illegal Killing of Wolves

Olve Krange, Erica von Essen, and Ketil Skogen

Conflicts over wolf management are a stable feature of Norwegian public debate. In some segments of the population, nature management, and especially predator management, have a very low legitimacy. A strong expression of these controversies is the illegal killing of wolves, a practice sufficiently extensive to impact wolf population size. In several studies, the killing of wolves is interpreted as politically motivated resistance/crime of dissent. This study contributes to the research field by examining the support for such illegal actions. We ask if the Norwegian public find such illegal actions to be acceptable or not. Analysis shows that acceptance joins a broader pattern of controversies, expressed by phenomena such as xenophobia, climate change denial, anti-elitism, and low confidence in institutions working to preserve nature.

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Scale Matters

Relating Wetland Loss and Commercial Fishing Activity in Louisiana across Spatial Scales

Amy Freitag, Suzana Blake, Patricia M. Clay, Alan C. Haynie, Chris Kelble, Michael Jepson, Stephen Kasperski, Kirsten M. Leong, Jamal H. Moss, and Seann D. Regan

Interdisciplinary science and environmental management involve bringing together data and expertise at multiple spatial scales. The most challenging part of merging scales is aligning the scale of inquiry with the research application. Through the Louisiana case study relating wetland loss and commercial fishing, we examine how the nature and strength of the relationship changes depending on the scale of investigation. Resulting management implications also vary because of tradeoffs in choosing the scale of inquiry. State-level fisheries managers may miss effects of wetland loss in fishing communities because they are looking at aggregate data. Scientific information must directly address the constituent scale, where managers can enact policy. The case study demonstrates why scalar considerations should be an explicit part of the planning process for both science and management.

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Tuna Tales

Narratives that Persuade as They Explain International Fisheries Management

D. G. Webster

Steven Adolf. 2019. Tuna Wars: Powers Around the Fish We Love to Conserve. New York: Springer.

Jennifer E. Telesca. 2020. Red Gold: The Managed Extinction of the Giant Bluefin Tuna. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

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Building Walls, Destroying Borderlands

Repertoires of Militarization on the United States–Mexico Border

Jennifer G. Correa and Joseph M. Simpson

Abstract

Checkpoints, barriers, surveillance technologies, and military-police enforcement constitute the current stage of militarization on the United States–Mexico border. Previous literature in environmental sociology and United States–Mexico border studies overlooks how militarization ravages communities through its environmental disruptions. Our aim is to identify what we describe as repertoires of militarization used by the state to facilitate militarized buildup and exacerbate environmental degradation in the Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV). We use ethnographic methods, document analysis, and participant observation to reveal three interrelated repertoires that threaten the environment and the peoples who inhabit it—a violation of international treaties, a waiving of environmental laws, and expansionary law enforcement powers.

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Md Saidul Islam

Abstract

Recent years have witnessed a proliferation of environmental certification regimes in the global agro-food system—a trend characterized as an example of the ecological modernization approach—which emerged largely because of the rise of consumer sovereignty and the neoliberal push for environmental and social “quality” in food production and processing. Based on a robust analysis of global aquaculture, the article argues that the environmental certification regimes privilege some actors, species, and cultures while marginalizing others. While the fundamental tenet of the ecological modernization approach is to shape capitalism by ecological principles, I argue instead that through environmental certification, ecology or nature itself is largely shaped, transformed and restructured to fit into and thereby serve neoliberal global governance and accumulation in a normalized manner. The example of certification regimes is therefore more like a “modernization of ecology” rather than ecological modernization.

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Success—Collapse—Resilience

The Story of Homo Resiliens in Film Documentaries on the Anthropocene

Florentine Schoog

Abstract

This article examines a selection of documentary films on the “Anthropocene” to carve out their common plot structure against the backdrop of prominent Anthropocene narratives. I subsequently trace Anthropos—the typification of a collective subject of humankind—and its story: the principal success story of the past that views humankind's glory in gaining dominance over nature is followed by a moment of shock revealing a potential collapse of the world as we know it. The story comes nevertheless to a happy ending by emphasizing the ingenuity of humans in a paradigmatic logic of resilience. I propose to call this figure Homo resiliens as it represents the anthropologized human capability of surviving. I argue that this figure conceals global inequality and social hegemonies in totalizing humankind as one collective resilient subject.

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Kaitlin Mondello

Timothy Clark. 2019. The Value of Ecocriticism. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Eduardo V. Oyarzun, Rebeca G. Valverde, Noelia M. García, María C. Jiménez, and Rebeca C. Sánchez, eds. 2020. Avenging Nature: The Role of Nature in Modern and Contemporary Art and Literature. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.