The expansion and intensification of agriculture is a major driver of deforestation in tropical forests and for global climate change. However, over the past decade Brazil has significantly reduced its deforestation rates while simultaneously increasing its agricultural production, particularly cattle and soy. While, the scholarly literature primarily attributes this success to environmental policy and global economic trends, recent ethnographic depictions of cattle ranchers and soy farmers offer deeper insight into how these political and economic processes are experienced on the ground. Examples demonstrate that policy and markets provide a framework for soy farming and ranching, but emerging forms of identity and new cultural values shape their practices. This article argues that to understand the full picture of why Brazil’s deforestation rates have dropped while the agricultural industry has flourished, the culture of producers must be present in the analysis.
The Promise of “El uno por mil” in Ecuador’s Yasuní-ITT Oil Operations
In 2013, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa announced the end of the Yasuní-ITT initiative. The initiative had proposed to combat climate change by not exploiting oil reserves in one section of the Yasuní National Park. Anticipating outcry, Correa promised that operations would affect less than one thousandth of the park, or “menos del uno por mil.” This article examines the role of numerical calculations in the governance of subterranean resources. Numbers do a particular kind of labor to rationalize the shift contained in the Yasuní-ITT initiative that rhetoric alone does not. Metrics such as el uno por mil constitute and translate between diverse realms of value. Yet, contrary to the assumption that numbers are derived from strictly technical, expert processes, I show how such metrics are fundamental to translations between incalculable matters of nature, the future, and the “good” when deployed in contests over the effects of oil on life.
Climate Change and Long-term Stakeholder Engagement
Carrie Furman, Wendy-Lin Bartels and Jessica Bolson
As awareness of the potential threats posed by climate change increases, researchers and agricultural advisors are being called upon to determine the risks that different stakeholder groups will likely confront and to develop adaptive strategies. Yet, engaging with stakeholders takes time. It also requires a clear and detailed plan to ensure that research and outreach activities yield useful outputs. In this article, we focus on the role of anthropologists as researchers and conveners in stakeholder engagement and provide a generalised overview of a long-term engagement process proceeding in three stages: (1) fact-finding and relationship- building; (2) incubation and collaborative learning; and (3) informed engagement and broad dissemination. We conclude with a discussion of perspectives and challenges that were encountered during two engagement experiences in the south-eastern United States.
Following the end of their government coalition with the Social Democratic Party, German Green Party leaders spoke of "a dawn of new opportunities" for Alliance 90/The Greens. They wanted to capitalize on the strategic opportunities afforded by Germany's new five-party system and on the unexpected rise of climate change in public debate. Shortly before the 2009 federal election, however, the party's "new opportunities" seem rather limited. Selectively focusing on one particular explanatory factor, this article contrasts the Green's neo-radical eco-political position as it has emerged since 2005 with the ways in which environmental issues are addressed by the currently popular LOHAS (Life of Health and Sustainability) consumer movement. It suggests that the German Greens may have paid too little attention to the ongoing reframing of the environmental issue in public discourse and that this has impaired their prospects for a swift return to government office.
Views from Central Asia
Markus S. Schulz
The future of energy is crucial for human mobility and well-being on a finite planet. What energy types are available to cover global needs? To what extent can they be produced and consumed safely? How can the negative effects of global warming, climate change, and environmental degradation be avoided? Who will benefit, and who will be at risk? Faced with such urgent questions, it was timely that the World Expo 2017 was dedicated to the theme of “Future Energy.” Held from June to September in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, a total of 115 countries, 22 international organizations, and several transnational corporations set up their own pavilions and exhibition spaces. Close to four million people visited the three-month-long expo, including an estimated five hundred thousand from abroad.
Hugh Beach, Dmitri Funk, and Lennard Sillanpää, eds., Post-Soviet Transformations: Politics of Ethnicity and Resource Use in Russia Anna Bara
Susan A. Crate and Mark Nuttall, eds., Anthropology and Climate Change: From Encounters to Actions Zareen Pervez Bharucha
Benjamin Isitt, From Victoria to Vladivostok. Canada’s Siberian Expedition, 1917–1919 J. L. Black
U. K. Kuznetsova, The Dictionary of Tuvan Culture: Angloiazychnyi slovar’ tuvinskoi kul’tury Alexander D. King
Yu. V. Popkov and E. A. Tyugashev, Filosofiia Severa: Korenye Malochislennye Narody Severa v Stsenariiakh Miroustroistva [Philosophy of the North: Indigenous Peoples of the North in World Order Scenarios] Karl Mertens
Douglas Rogers, The Old Faith and the Russian Land: A Historical Ethnography of Ethics in the Urals David Z. Scheffel
Ugly Emotions and the Politics of Accusation
Geoffrey Hughes, Megnaa Mehtta, Chiara Bresciani and Stuart Strange
Ugly emotions like envy and greed tend to emerge ethnographically through accusations (as opposed to self-attribution), de-centring the individual psyche and drawing attention to how emotions are deployed in broader projects of moral policing. Tracking the moral, social dimension of emotions through accusations helps to account concretely for the political, economic and ideological factors that shape people’s ethical worldviews – their defences, judgements and anxieties. Developing an anthropological understanding of these politics of accusation leads us to connect classical anthropological themes of witchcraft, scapegoating, and inter- and intra-communal conflict with ethnographic interventions into contemporary debates around speculative bubbles, inequality, migration, climate change and gender. We argue that a focus on the politics of accusation that surrounds envy and greed has the potential to allow for a more analytically subtle and grounded understanding of both ethics and emotions.
Tools aimed at achieving balance as the basis for transformative development
Harlan Koff, Miguel Equihua Zamora, Carmen Maganda and Octavio Pérez-Maqueo
If aliens were to look down on planet Earth and observe us, they might be led to believe that the natural state of humanity is crisis. Whether we focus on politics, economics, society or the environment, it seems that crises are perpetuated and possibly even expanded in global affairs. For example, we have recently witnessed war in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, expanded flows of refugees and the resulting nativist fears expressed in those countries where they arrive or could potentially arrive, unprecedented global financial crises, the depletion of natural resources and our alleged contribution to deadly disasters (such as Typhoon Haiyan in 2013) through climate change. Borrowing from Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr’s observation of 19th century French politics, we may argue that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” (http://www.histoire encitations.fr/citations/Karr-plus-ca-change-plus-c-est-la-meme-chose)
A New Journal for Contemporary Environmental Challenges
Paige West, Dan Brockington, Jamon Halvaksz and Michael Cepek
Social scientists have been writing about the relationships between people and their surroundings for as long as there has been social scientific inquiry. Fields such as anthropology, economics, history, human geography, law, political science, psychology, and sociology all have long and rich histories of contributing to and pioneering socio-environmental analysis. However, the past 20 years have seen a proliferation of scholarship in the social sciences that is focused on environmental issues. This is due, in part, to changes in our environment that have profound implications for the future of both human society and the environment. It is also due, in part, to the ways in which environmental practitioners have portrayed the causes of these changes. In the 1970s, social scientists, concerned with the ways in which the causes of environmental changes were being attributed to some peoples and not others, felt that their knowledge of social processes and social systems could shed light on these issues (see Blaikie and Brookfield 1987). They thought that the methods and theories of the social sciences could and should be brought to bear on questions about contemporary environmental changes. Climate change, the water crisis, deforestation, desertification, biodiversity loss, the energy crisis, nascent resource wars, environmental refugees, and environmental justice are just some of the many compelling challenges facing society today that were identified by these early scholars as sites in need of social scientific analysis.
George Holmes, Joel Wainwright, Jason Yaeger, Eric D. Carter, Kelley L. Denham, K. Jill Fleuriet, Kathleen Gillogly, Shannon Stunden Bower, Joel Hartter, Catherine Fennell and Andrew Oberle
Dowie, Mark, Conservation Refugees: The Hundred-Year Conflict between Global Conservation and Native Peoples
Escobar , Arturo, Territories of Difference: Place, Movements, Life, Redes
Fagan , Brian, The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations
Hornborg , Alf, J. R. McNeill, and Joan Martinez-Alier, eds., Rethinking Environmental History: World-System History and Global Environmental Change
Jones, Eric C., and Arthur D. Murphy , eds., The Political Economy of Hazards and Disasters
Langston, Nancy, Toxic Bodies: Hormone Disruptors and the Legacy of DES
Li, Tania Murray, The Will to Improve: Governmentality, Development, and the Practice of Politics
Radkau, Joachim, Nature and Power: A Global History of the Environment
Robbins , Paul, Lawn People: How Grasses, Weeds, and Chemicals Make Us Who We Are
Sheridan , Michael, and Celia Nyamweru, eds., African Sacred Groves: Ecological Dynamics & Social Change
Walker, Richard, The Country in the City: The Greening of the San Francisco Bay Area
Wrangham , Richard, and Elizabeth Ross, eds., Science and Conservation in African Forests: The Benefits of Long-Term Research