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Righting Names

The Importance of Native American Philosophies of Naming for Environmental Justice

Rebekah Sinclair

ABSTRACT

Controlling the names of places, environments, and species is one way in which settler colonial ontologies delimit the intelligibility of ecological relations, Indigenous peoples, and environmental injustices. To counter this, this article amplifies the voices of Native American scholars and foregrounds a philosophical account of Indigenous naming. First, I explore some central characteristics of Indigenous ontology, epistemic virtue, and ethical responsibility, setting the stage for how Native naming draws these elements together into a complete, robust philosophy. Then I point toward leading but contingent principles of Native naming, foregrounding how Native names emerge from and create communities by situating (rather than individuating) the beings that they name within kinship structures, including human and nonhuman agents. Finally, I outline why and how Indigenous names and the knowledges they contain are crucial for both resisting settler violence and achieving environmental justice, not only for Native Americans, but for their entire animate communities.

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Kyle Whyte

ABSTRACT

Settler colonialism is a form of domination that violently disrupts human relationships with the environment. Settler colonialism is ecological domination, committing environmental injustice against Indigenous peoples and other groups. Focusing on the context of Indigenous peoples’ facing US domination, this article investigates philosophically one dimension of how settler colonialism commits environmental injustice. When examined ecologically, settler colonialism works strategically to undermine Indigenous peoples’ social resilience as self-determining collectives. To understand the relationships connecting settler colonialism, environmental injustice, and violence, the article first engages Anishinaabe intellectual traditions to describe an Indigenous conception of social resilience called collective continuance. One way in which settler colonial violence commits environmental injustice is through strategically undermining Indigenous collective continuance. At least two kinds of environmental injustices demonstrate such violence: vicious sedimentation and insidious loops. The article seeks to contribute to knowledge of how anti-Indigenous settler colonialism and environmental injustice are connected.

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Unsettling the Land

Indigeneity, Ontology, and Hybridity in Settler Colonialism

Paul Berne Burow, Samara Brock, and Michael R. Dove

ABSTRACT

This article examines different ontologies of land in settler colonialism and Indigenous movements for decolonization and environmental justice. Settler ontologies of land operate by occluding other modes of perceiving, representing, and experiencing land. Indigenous ontologies of land are commonly oriented around relationality and reciprocal obligations among humans and the other-than-human. Drawing together scholarship from literatures in political economy, political ecology, Indigenous studies, and post-humanism, we synthesize an approach to thinking with land to understand structures of dispossession and the possibilities for Indigenous revitalization through ontological hybridity. Using two different case studies—plantation development in Indonesia and land revitalization in the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Nation—we further develop how settler and Indigenous ontologies operate on the ground, illuminating the coexistence of multiple ontologies of land. Given the centrality of land in settler colonialism, hybrid ontologies are important to Indigenous movements seeking to simultaneously strengthen sovereignty over territory and revitalize land-based practices.

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Marco Sonnberger and Michael Ruddat

Abstract

The article aims to explore citizens’ perceptual patterns underlying the public’s view of the German energy transition. By reducing the complexity of the public’s views to its main dimensions, the article contributes to a deeper understanding of citizens’ reactions to transition projects such as the German energy transition. This research is based on a German-wide representative survey that included items covering different aspects concerning the acceptance of energy technologies (trust in key actors, fairness, perceived risks and benefits, etc.). In order to explore citizens’ perceptual patterns of the German energy transition, we drew on the method of categorical principal component analysis. On the basis of our results, we hypothesize that risk-benefit/acceptance and trust/fairness are two main latent dimensions underlying citizens’ perception of the energy transition.

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Meshworks and the Making of Climate Places in the European Alps

A Framework for Ethnographic Research on the Perceptions of Climate Change

Sophie Elixhauser, Stefan Böschen, and Katrin Vogel

Abstract

Ethnographers studying the local dimensions of climate change find themselves confronted with a methodological problem: climate change is both an abstract concept and a locally present phenomenon, yet it does not emerge from lived experience. We tackle this problem by means of a research framework that combines discussions on place and Tim Ingold’s (2011) idea of a meshwork. This article is based on research on climate change perceptions in two Alpine communities, located in Bavaria (Germany) and South Tyrol (Italy), respectively. We show how a focus on climate knots and their meshworks allows the grasping, describing, and visualizing of the different dimensions of climate change in these two local settings. This framework, as we further show, helps to reveal social and cultural patterns and underlying structures.

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New Horizons for Sustainable Architecture

Hydro-Logical Design for the Ecologically Responsive City

Brook Muller

Abstract

In this article, I explore conceptual strategies encouraging an ecologically responsive, water-centric approach to architectural design, such that design interventions become nature/culture hybrids connecting urban dwellers to larger hydrological conditions. I consider the notion of horizons as one mechanism for working out a trajectory for sustainable architecture, one that highlights experiential and environmental concerns simultaneously. In a conceptual shift, theorist David Leatherbarrow’s treatment of “three architectural horizons” (the equipmental—the objects of one’s immediate setting; the practical—the enclosure of a building; and the environmental—what lies beyond) are reshuffled: the practical expands to the watershed (the bioregion as common dwelling place) while environmental processes couple with the equipment of buildings, such that architectures deliver net positive watershed impact.

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The Role of Naturalness in Ecological Restoration

A Case Study from the Cook County Forest Preserves

Nicole M. Evans and William P. Stewart

Abstract

While ecological restoration may help bridge the nature-culture gap, restoration still holds relevant meanings for naturalness, as demonstrated in this case study of staff and volunteers in the Cook County Forest Preserves (CCFP) in Illinois, United States. Translating naturalness as an agency policy into restoration goals for sites, CCFP integrated historical evidence, ecological science, and human values. Naturalness was constructed as historical fidelity, a scientific designation to be objectively discovered, while the scales at which people interpreted historical fidelity, namely, species, communities, processes, and practices, were sites of value deliberation. The multiple renderings of naturalness can be a strength that provides flexibility to restore what is locally valued, constructing restoration projects that acknowledge, rather than attempt to overcome, the constructed nature of naturalness.

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Two Worlds of Environmentalism?

Empirical Analyses on the Complex Relationship between Postmaterialism, National Wealth, and Environmental Concern

Jochen Mayerl and Henning Best

Abstract

This article examines cross-cultural differences in the value cluster of environmentalism and postmaterialism. Based on an extension of Ronald Inglehart’s “objective problems–subjective values” hypothesis, we posit different sources of postmaterialism and environmental concern in wealthy versus poor countries. We test hypotheses on the relationship between national wealth, postmaterialist values, and environmental concern using empirical data from the World Values Survey waves 5 and 6 and the International Social Survey Program 2010. Using multilevel regression models with cross-level interaction terms and country fixed effects, we show that the effect of postmaterialism on environmental concern is indeed moderated by national wealth: whereas there is a weak or even no effect in poorer countries, the relationship is substantial in wealthy countries. Therefore, we argue that individual postmaterialist values and environmental concern do in fact form a coherent structure in wealthy countries, but should be considered as isolated constructs in poorer countries.

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Attila Tóth, Barbora Duží, Jan Vávra, Ján Supuka, Mária Bihuňová, Denisa Halajová, Stanislav Martinát, and Eva Nováková

Abstract

Allotment gardens have played a significant role in Czech and Slovak society for decades, building upon a rich history of gardening. This article elaborates on Czech and Slovak allotments in the European context and identifies their core functions, services, and benefits. We provide a thorough historical review of allotments in this region, reaching back to the eighteenth century to trace significant periods and historic events that shaped society in general and urban gardening in particular. We analyze the development of allotments until and after 1989 and illustrate key aspects of their present situation using case studies and examples. The article provides a complex historical narrative as a good basis for discussions on contemporary trends, challenges, and visions for the future of urban allotment gardening in both countries.

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Marian Simon-Rojo, Inés Morales Bernardos, and Jon Sanz Landaluze

Abstract

In the aftermath of the economic crisis, the food geography in the city of Madrid is being transformed. The urban unemployed began to engage in agriculture in periurban areas, creating new alliances between producers and consumers. The alternative food movement organized on the fringe gave way to agroecological civic platforms that are highly assertive, and a dialogue with political institutions has opened. A key moment in the advance of this proactive attitude came about in the municipal elections of May 2015. Activists ascended to positions of political power, the backdrop of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact created an opportunity for the food movement to move from protest to program, and public policies were permeated by agroecological principles.