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Robyn Eckersley and Jean-Paul Gagnon

Modern environmentalism, whose genesis tracks mainly from the 1960s and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), has forced the anthropocentric emphasis of democracy to account. Nonhuman actors like trees, ecological systems, and the climate have increasingly become anthropomorphized by humans representing these actors in politics. Aside from challenges to the anthropocentric concepts of citizenship, political representation, agency, and boundaries in democratic theory, environmentalism has warned of apocalyptic crises. This drives a different kind of challenge to mainly liberal democracies. Scientists and activists are becoming increasingly fed up with the seeming incompetence, slowness, and idiocy of politicians, interest groups, and electors. Eyes start to wander to that clean, well-kempt, and fast-acting gentleman called authoritarianism. The perfect shallowness of his appearance mesmerizes like a medusa those that would usually avoid him. Serfdom increasingly looks like a palpable trade-off to keep the “green” apocalypses at bay. Democracy’s only answer to this challenge is to evolve into a cleverer version of itself.

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Priscilla Fortier

This article describes the findings of an undergraduate Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI) course in which students examined the university's efforts to improve the racial climate of the campus. These institutional efforts are intended to create a more comfortable environment for under-represented minority students who often comprise a significantly smaller group on campus than in their home neighbourhoods and high schools. Many minority group students experience isolation and discomfort connected to a lack of 'ownership' of campus spaces and traditions, which tend to be monopolised by white students. In my EUI class, which was sponsored by the Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA) at the University of Illinois (U of I), under-represented minority students focused their ethnographic projects specifically on campus-sponsored programmes intended to facilitate interaction across racial and ethnic groups. Of particular interest to students were programmes related to residence halls and campus social spaces. The findings presented here indicate that campus-sponsored programmes to increase race awareness that depend upon students' voluntary participation may be less effective in bringing students together than required classroom-based programmes and informal interaction through shared extra-curricular passions.

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Roberto Dominguez

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 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 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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Herrick Chapman

With FPCS embarking on its fourth decade of publishing work on the study of France and the francophone world, the journal invited scholars in several disciplines to write short essays on where they thought the field of French Studies should head in the future. This essay introduces the resulting dossier on “French Studies and Its Futures.” It situates the project in the current context in which the field is thriving intellectually but struggling with menacing institutional pressures. It goes on to describe the particular formulation of French Studies that the journal came to represent in its early years in the 1980s, how it evolved since, and what that experience suggests about how scholars can respond creatively to the challenges and opportunities the future may hold for the field.

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Kyle Whyte

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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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 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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Richard J. Ladle and Paul Jepson

The concept of extinction is at the heart of the modern conservation movement, and massive resources have been spent on developing models and frameworks for quantifying and codifying a phenomenon that has been described by American researcher and naturalist Edward O. Wilson as an obscure and local biological process. Scientists, environmentalists, and politicians have repeatedly used extinction rhetoric as a core justification for a global conservation agenda that seeks to influence a wide range of human activities despite the inherent difficulty and uncertainty involved in estimating current and future rates of extinction, or even in verifying the demise of a particular species. In this article we trace the historical origins of the extinction concept and discuss its power to influence policies, agendas, and behaviors. We argue that conservation needs to develop a more culturally meaningful rhetoric of extinction that aligns scientific evidence, cultural frames, institutional frameworks, and organizational interests.

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Limits and Limitlessness

Exploring Time in Scientific Practice

Antonia Walford

This article explores some of the ways that time figures in the scientific practices of instrumental micrometeorology and climatic and weather modeling. It draws on ethnographic work done with the Large-Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA), an international scientific project that aims to assess the role of the Amazon forest in the global carbon cycle and to provide sustainable techniques for the future management of the region. An examination of the knowledge practices that have emerged from this ethnography (such as calibration and prediction) provides an opportunity to rethink the relation between 'natural time' and 'social time(s)'. This allows for a discussion of the roles that certainty, uncertainty, finiteness, and limitlessness play in both scientific and ethnographic practice.

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Changing Paradigms

Flux and Stability in Past Environments

Liliana Janik

This article introduces and illustrates the need to reassess the way we conceive of human 'adaptation' to the natural environment. The primary case considered is the south-eastern Baltic Sea region during the mid-Holocene. The article argues for the importance of the notion of a metastable ecosystem in debate about climatic and environmental changes. Through a discussion of the culturally governed choices made by human communities in non-equilibrium ecosystems, we are able critically to examine highly influential theories of environmental determinism.