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A Crystal Ball for Forests?

Analyzing the Social-Ecological Impacts of Forest Conservation and Management over the Long Term

Daniel C. Miller, Pushpendra Rana and Catherine Benson Wahlén

Citizens, governments, and donors are increasingly demanding better evidence on the effectiveness of development policies and programs. Efforts to ensure such accountability in the forest sector confront the challenge that the results may take years, even decades, to materialize, while forest-related interventions usually last only a short period. This article reviews the broad interdisciplinary literature assessing forest conservation and management impacts on biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, and poverty alleviation in developing countries. It emphasizes the importance of indicators and identifies disconnects between a rapidly growing body of research based on quasi-experimental designs and studies taking a more critical, ethnographic approach. The article also highlights a relative lack of attention on longer-term impacts in both of these areas of scholarship. We conclude by exploring research frontiers in the assessment of the impacts of forest-related interventions with long incubation periods, notably the development of predictive proxy indicators (PPIs).

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The “Mangle” of Human Practice

Museu do Amanhã’s Artistic Staging as a Socioscientific Narrative on Climate Change

Rodanthi Tzanelli

Praça Mauá, 1 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20081-240, Brasil https://museudoamanha.org.br/en

We are accustomed to museums full of heritage displays from bygone eras, helpfully “seriated” for the visitor to tell a story of linear human progress toward an “end”: the great metanarrative of (Western) modernity. This is not so with the Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow) in Rio de Janeiro. A joint public-private partner venture (by the City of Rio de Janeiro, the Roberto Marinho Foundation, Banco Santander, the British Gas Project, and the government of Brazil), the museum was conceptualized as a dark but openended narrative on climate change and the future of humanity.

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Roberto Dominguez

English abstract: This article examines the evolution of the European Union (EU)–Latin America environmental relationship and the EU contributions to environmental governance in Latin America over the past two decades. It argues that environmental governance in Latin America is the result of the combination of three elements: (a) progress, albeit problematic, of international environmental frameworks;(b) domestic transformations in Latin American states demanding better environmental standards; and (c) international cooperation. From this perspective, EU contributions to Latin American environmental governance have increased since the early 2000s, but varied in specific cases. In spite of some bilateral differences (EU–Ecuador or EU–Venezuela), EU environmental programs to Latin America have modestly increased in areas such as climate change, renewable energy, and water since the 2000s and hence EU environmental policies in Latin America are significant to the extent that the environmental variable has relatively gained more relevance in the bi-regional relationship.

Spanish abstract: Este artículo analiza la evolución de la relación medioambiental de la Unión Europea (UE) y América Latina y las contribuciones de la UE a la gobernanza ambiental en América Latina en las últimas dos décadas. Argumenta que la gobernanza ambiental en América Latina es el resultado de la combinación de tres elementos: (a) el progreso, aunque problemático, de los marcos internacionales sobre medio ambiente; (b) transformaciones internas en los estados latinoamericanos para exigir mejores normas ambientales; y (c) la cooperación internacional. Desde esta perspectiva, las contribuciones de la UE a la gobernanza ambiental de América Latina han aumentado desde la década de 2000, pero variado en casos específicos. A pesar de algunas diferencias bilaterales (UE–Ecuador o UE–Venezuela), programas medioambientales de la UE hacia América Latina han aumentado modestamente en ámbitos como el cambio climático, la energía renovable y el agua desde la década de 2000 y por lo tanto las políticas medioambientales de la UE en América Latina son significativas en la medida en que la variable ambiental relativamente ha adquirido más relevancia en la relación bi-regional.

French abstract: Cet article analyse l'évolution des incidences de l'Union européenne (UE) en matière d'environnement et des contributions de l'Amérique Latine et de l'UE à la gouvernance environnementale en Amérique Latine au cours des deux dernières décennies. La gouvernance environnementale en Amérique Latine est le résultat d'une combinaison de trois éléments: a) les progrès, bien que problématiques, des schémas internationaux en matière d'environnement, b) les transformations internes dans les États d'Amérique Latine revendiquant de meilleures normes environnementales, et c) la coopération internationale. Dans cette perspective, les contributions de l'UE à la gouvernance environnementale en Amérique Latine ont augmenté depuis les années 2000, mais ont varié dans des cas spécifiques. Malgré quelques différences bilatérales (entre l'UE-Equateur ou l'UEVenezuela), les programmes environnementaux de l'UE en Amérique latine ont augmenté modestement dans des domaines tels que le changement climatique, les énergies renouvelables et l'eau depuis les années 2000 et donc les politiques environnementales de l'UE en Amérique latine sont importantes dans la mesure où la variable environnementale a relativement gagné davantage de pertinence dans la relation bi-régionale.

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Jim Clarke

J.G. Ballard's early novels The Drowned World (1962) and The Crystal World (1966) take a climatological approach to apocalyptic dystopia. This has led survey studies of climate fiction to identify these novels as founding texts of the genre. Yet Ballard wrote in an era before global warming had been identified by climate scientists, and his fiction is as much psychological and ontological as it is physiological. Ballard both adheres to and deviates from the global warming narrative now accepted by contemporary climatology, working within and beyond the SF subgenre of post-apocalyptic fiction. This paper assesses the extent to which these dystopian narratives can be understood as climate fiction and explores the debt that more recent cli-fi may owe to Ballard.

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Ocean, Motion, Emotion

Mobilities and Mobilizations in the Pacific

Matt Matsuda

The Pacific is a constantly shifting domain of cultures, encounters, and natural phenomena. As such, histories of the Pacifi c are marked by transits, circuits, and displacements, both intentional and unintentional. By sketching out examples from the sailing voyages of the open-ocean canoe Hokule‘a, to the enslavement of a South Asian woman transported on the Spanish galleons, to the Australian government’s contested policy for dealing with seaborne refugees, to the challenges posed to low-lying islands by rising sea levels, we see how peoples in motion underscore so much of global history.

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The Ice as Argument

Topographical Mementos in the High Arctic

Kirsten Hastrup

This article explores the predominance of ice and the role of topographical mementos in the High Arctic environment. The ice is its own argument in complex ways: it is an actor in the human/non-human network, as well as in the hunter-scientist relationship. Whatever climate history one wants to tell, it begins and ends with the ice.

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The Outburst

Climate Change, Gender Relations, and Situational Analysis

Jonas Østergaard Nielsen

Since the major Sahelian droughts and famines of the early 1970s and 1980s, international development and aid organizations have played a large role in the small village of Biidi 2, located in northern Burkina Faso. This article explores how a visit by a development 'expert' to the village can be analyzed as a social situation in which normal social control is suspended and negotiated. Focusing on gender relations, the analysis shows how the women of Biidi 2 involved in the event were relatively free to construct alternative definitions of their identity and social position vis-à-vis the men.

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The Siberian Curse

A Blessing in Disguise for Renewable Energy?

Indra Overland

This article examines the prospects for the development of renewable energy in Russia, concentrating on remote northern settlements as a possible market niche. The article discusses conducive factors and obstacles to the development of renewable energy in Russia as a whole. It starts by noting many factors conducive to renewable energy in Russia and then goes on to identify some major obstacles that nonetheless make it difficult to develop renewable energy in the country. The author further examines how these obstacles might be overcome and an initial foothold be established by replacing the northern freight system (severnyi zavoz) with locally produced renewable energy. The article draws on interviews with Russian scholars, government officials, and business people related to energy and/or the north, as well as written materials on severnyi zavoz and renewable energy in Russia.

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Anna Tsing

To take the concept of the Anthropocene seriously requires engagement with global history. But what ‘global’ shall this be? In honour of the work of Marilyn Strathern, this essay explores that planetary Anthropocene composed of fragments that do not fit together at all, and yet necessarily do. At the centre of my concerns are the awkward relations between what one might call ‘machines of replication’ – those simplified ecologies, such as plantations, in which life worlds are remade as future assets – and the vernacular histories in which such machines erupt in all their particularity and go feral in counter-intentional forms. Such eruptions are manifestations of post-Enlightenment modern Man, the one who got us into the mess we call the Anthropocene. Yet, in contrast to approaches that begin with the unified continuity of Man (versus indigenous ontologies; as scientific protocol and so on), this article explores contingent eruptions and the patchy, fractured Anthropocene they foster.

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Raw Data

Making Relations Matter

Antonia Walford

This article takes scientific ‘raw data’ as its ethnographic object in order to investigate the co-implication of nature and culture in scientific knowledge practices. The article traces out some of the activities that are involved in producing numerical climate data from the Brazilian Amazon. Although science and technology studies (STS) makes a strong case for associating relationality with certainty, the article argues that a particular form of data, ‘raw data’, complicates this association. It further argues that scientific data is not simply composed out of relations, but is a relation itself. The article ends with a brief reflection on the possible repercussions of shifting from thinking of science as producing multiple natures and cultures to thinking of it as producing the potential for relations.