Urban allotment gardens constitute urban natures with a rich history as well as potential public redevelopment land. While many cities in Europe struggle to protect allotment gardens from competing land-use forces, in Copenhagen, allotments are classified as valuable urban nature and enjoy special protection. We analyze the social and political conditions and consequences of this unique situation. Taking a closer look at the governance arrangements and what we refer to as asymmetric civic-public compromises enabling the protection, we show how this is resulting in new material conflicts between civic and municipal actors. We argue that the conflicts are related to the unresolved issue of competing visions of civic, green, and market sustainability shaping contemporary urban development in Copenhagen and beyond and which are starkly revealed within allotment gardens.
Asymmetric Valuation Compromises and Civic-Material Tensions in Copenhagen Allotment Gardens
Nicola C. Thomas and Anders Blok
The Case of the Swedish Greens
Devin K. Joshi
Green parties were once hailed as offering a “new politics” vis-à-vis the political establishment by proposing radical political, economic, and environmental reforms, but they have since transformed in many countries to become more moderate and pragmatic. While some doubt whether their ideology still contains any essential core, I contend that a unifying link can be found in the philosophy of the Daoist sage Laozi. I illustrate this by analyzing the party program of Miljöpartiet de Gröna (Sweden’s Environmental Green Party), one of the world’s most electorally successful green parties. As demonstrated here, this green party’s current ideology strongly reflects key imperatives of Daoist political ecology revealing the philosophy’s durability and attractiveness over time and its perceived relevance to pressing issues of sustainability and climate change.
A Biocultural View
Daniel Gaudio and Mauro Gobbi
Disappearing glaciers are one of the most evident signals of climate change of the current period in Earth’s history, the Anthropocene. In this article, we discuss the side effects of the glacier melt from a biocultural standpoint, moving from the Southern European Alps to a global context. Specifically, we highlight what we are losing from a cultural and naturalistic perspective but also, paradoxically, what we could “gain” if we were able to understand more deeply, and with an interdisciplinary approach, glacial dynamics and their role for human society. Glaciers can teach us several stories, but we are quickly approaching the last chance to listen to them.
Campanology under COVID-19
Throughout 2020 and 2021, bells have rung in a variety of COVID-related rituals in the West, ranging from large-scale religious and civic rites, to ad hoc neighborhood and hospital initiatives, to anti-racist memorials that simultaneously spoke to the health crisis at hand. Taking stock of how these COVID bell-ringing rituals were formalized, their structures and actions, and the historical precedents from which they drew their meanings, this article investigates what the sounds of bells and the rituals of bell-ringing communicated about COVID, how they shaped our personal and collective experiences of the crisis, and what functions they were expected to serve during this liminal period. It reveals how, owing to the historical polysemy of bells on the one hand and the social uncertainties of living with COVID on the other, those rituals generated vivid symbolisms and mobilized powerful emotions that sometimes brought about unintended consequences.
Understanding Conflicts and Frictions in Dutch Flood Protection
Nadine Keller, Barbara Tempels, and Thomas Hartmann
The OECD Water Governance Principles provide a guideline for good water governance. However, these principles can conflict with each other when applied in practice. This contribution aims to understand which dilemmas arise and how such conflicts play out. It is explored in an in-depth case study on Dutch flood risk management in which conflicts between the principles emerge when applied to flood risk management practice. Interviews with water managers were used to collect data on which principles contradict each other and how these conflicts work out in practice. The study reveals that although the principles seem obvious, some principles indeed clash when applying them, while others do not lead to conflicts. Principles on efficiency, trust, and engagement have high potential for conflicts.
Envisioning the Futures of Environmental Cultures
Devall, Bill. 2020. Living Deep Ecology: A Bioregional Journey. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Kallis, Giorgos, Susan Paulson, Giacomo D’Alisa, and Federico Demaria. 2020. The Case for Degrowth. Medford: Polity.
Arid Landscapes and Ecologies of Encounter across the African Diaspora
In the poem “ca’line’s prayer,” Lucille Clift on marks the progression of Black generational memory through the metaphor of drought. The poem’s 1969 publication coincided with one of the worst droughts in modern history. Across the West African Sahel late rains and the onset of famine led to widespread death and displacement. Starting from this conjunctural moment in the late 1960s and using Clifton’s provocation about the “Blackness” of drought, this article contemplates representations of arid environments in African and Afro-diasporic texts. I consider various imaginings of arid spaces, presented simultaneously as wasteland and homeland. Surveying critical scholarship on the Sahelian drought, I interrogate the contested meanings of Black life and death in deserts. I also consider the contemporary resonances of these themes, engaging African eco-critical and Afro/African futurists texts. I show how these portrayals of actual and imagined deserts reveal alternate modes of encounter forged through Black/African ecological thought.
Alex A. Moulton and Inge Salo
Black geographies and Black ecologies are epistemological frameworks that attend to the ideological, philosophical, and material portent of Black movements in dialectical, but not deterministic, relationships with the geographies and environments of Black life and struggle. This article reviews the Black geographies and Black ecologies literature, showing the convergence of these bodies of scholarship around themes of racial, spatial, and ecological justice. The thematic, methodological, and analytical overlaps between Black geographies and Black ecologies are quite apropos for understanding the current realities faced by Black racial-spatial-ecological justice movements; for clarifying the geographies, histories, and ecologies of Black transformation, flourishing, and everyday resistance; and for explicating how global environmental crises are rooted in racial capitalism and regimes of racialization (a sociopolitical crisis).
Dryland Farming in the Arid Black Pacific, 1890–1930
Maya L. Shamsid-Deen and Jayson M. Porter
Dry farming, or techniques of cultivating crops in regions with domineering dry seasons, was central to Black agricultural life across the Black diaspora, but especially in the Black Pacific. Ecologically, the Black diaspora transformed semi-arid ecosystems in both the Atlantic and Pacific. However, there is a dearth of Black narratives that draw on the ecological and botanical relationships held with the land. Through a collaborative botanical and historical approach that blends historical ecology and botany, we evaluate how Black placemaking occurred despite arid climatic stressors and as a result of ecological and cultural knowledge systems. Highlighting Black agricultural life in Costa Chica, Mexico and Blackdom, New Mexico, we argue that people and plants made cimarronaje (or collective and situated Black placemaking) possible in the Western coasts and deserts of Mexico and New Mexico through botanical knowledge systems of retaining water and cultivating a life in water-scarce environments.
Amani C. Morrison
Affordance theory, originating in ecological psychology but adopted by the field of design studies, refers to possibilities for action that a subject perceives in an environment. I posit Black spatial affordance, critically employing affordances with an eye toward Black ecological and geographical practices, and I apply it to the Great Migration residential landscape and literature. Grounded in racial capitalist critique, Black geographic thought, and cultural critique at the intersections of race, place, and performance, Black spatial affordance works as an analytic to engage Black quotidian practice in racially circumscribed and delineated places and spaces. Operating at multiple scales, Black spatial affordance engages the specificity of places structured by racism to analyze the micro-level spatial negotiations Black subjects devise and employ in recognition of the terrain through which they move or are emplaced. Employing Black spatial affordance enables critical inquiry into the spatial navigation of subjects who occupy marginal positions in society.