||[Oct. 4th, 2006|10:54 am]
Environmental Justice and Conservation Conference
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE, AND RESOURCE RIGHTS: |
TENSIONS AND OVERLAPS
The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System has economic and ecological resources shared between the countries of Guatemala, Honduras, Belize and Mexico. In this presentation, I will discuss joint prior work between NGOs, government representatives and academics and how this experience has impressed upon me the importance of systemic approaches to transboundary watershed management, of cooperation between countries on transboundary watersheds, of stakeholder involvement in watershed management and the critical role that interdisciplinary research plays
in identifying threats to water quality and human health.
Ana I. Baptista
Urban Planning and Policy Program
Impacts of Industrial Production on Residents and Workers: Newark, NJ
Newark, New Jersey has a long history of industrial production dating back to the industrial revolution. A case study is presented relating the co-evolution of industrial and residential development in Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood. The case focuses on the existing industrial conditions and the economic, health and environmental impacts on residents and workers. Strategies for addressing some of the major industrial sources of pollution in the neighborhood are presented from an environmental justice and community organizing perspective.
Currently a PhD Candidate in the Urban Planning and Policy Program at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. I also currently work as an environmental justice advocate for a local non-profit, Ironbound Community Corp., in Newark, NJ where I grew up. I received an MA from Brown University’s Environmental Studies Program and a BA in Environmental Biology from Dartmouth College. I am a 2005 ELP Fellow.
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Santa Cruz
Nature Conservation in Post-Socialist Poland: Indigeneity and Populism
Post-socialist countries of East/Central Europe added dozens of new national parks after 1989. In northeastern Poland national parks development overlapped with a radical rearrangement of rural space. Structural policies mandated by the European Union sought to reduce the number of farmers (20% of the population) in a push to consolidate landholdings. At the same time, conservationists promoted ecotourism as a supplemental economy and wanted rural people doing "traditional" things in national parks, such as scything meadows in the Biebrza Marshes and collecting mushrooms in the Bialowieza Forest, Europe's last low-land old growth forest.
This presentation raises the question of what social justice and resource access mean in the development context of Poland, a case study that can be applied to much of the post-socialist world. Rural inhabitants in Poland often relied upon cues circulated by state resource extractive industry, such as timber, and local politicians wanting to capture funds from the EU or even private firms promoting capital intensive agriculture. Much of this language emerged as populist, property rights discourses, where people ascribed indigeneity to themselves. "They want us to be Indians on a reservation," rural people would say about conservationists. How is this language and the dislocations wrought by capitalist advance in Poland creating a conservation tension that is both local to the post-socialist world and a global trend of resource extractive industries allying themselves with disenfranchised rural populaces?
Eunice Blavascunas is a doctoral candidate in cultural anthropology at the University of California Santa Cruz. Her dissertation research looks at the creation of an ecological region in northeastern Poland where several new national parks were added in the early 1990s. As a 2005 Switzer Fellow she has actively involved herself in nature protection campaigns and community development in Poland, recently acting as a policy advisor to Poland's presidential commission on the expansion of the Bialowieza National Park, one of Europe's last old growth forests.
Steven C. Caton
Department of Anthropology
Some Politics of Water Resources Management Policies in Yemen
As in many other places in the world, especially the Middle East, Yemen is facing a water crisis (quantity and quality). Unlike a commodity like gas or oil, water is difficult to control or manage because it comes from multiple sources and circulates everywhere in society. Nor is there a “magic bullet” to solve its shortage or degradation; thus solutions are not obvious or simple. It is therefore not surprising that policies proliferate, often at the behest of complex politics. For example, the presidential office, especially in an election year, touts national efforts to find new (through water exploration) or increased (through desalination) sources of water to satisfy ever escalating demands on water consumption, whereas various government departments (funded by international aid organizations) charged with water affairs will emphasize “integrated management” of decreasing or finite water resources, and still others water conservation through new irrigation techniques along with strict enforcement of the national water law. This paper will try to examine the complexities behind the politics of science, bureaucracies, aid organizations and the state that influence water policies in a country like Yemen.
Department of Anthropology
This presentation will focus on the development of international political communities based on the economic relationships between different man-made chemicals. In particular, I will discuss the case of movements against Dow, the world’s largest chemical company. What is the difference between the notion of “biological communities” of people affected by similar types of contamination, and of a different type of political community, one that is based on disparate experiences linked to one global producer? How are the narratives that link these disparate experiences and geographies - some more weighted as medical crisis, and some as resource crisis - created by survivors and activists, and how are they countered by corporate and legal narratives?
Bridget Hanna is a graduate student in social anthropology at Harvard. Her interests include the social effects of, political communities formed by, and medical responses to chemical and industrial disasters, primarily in the US and India. She edited the anthology "The Bhopal Reader" (2004), and is director of the "bhopal memory project," www.bard.edu/bhopal.
Department of Atmospheric Chemistry
Municipal solid waste (MSW) disposal creates enormous costs to society. In the US, MSW management is a 20 billion dollar industry. Landfills take up valuable land, decrease neighboring property values, and pollute the ground water supply. Incineration can provide a way of generating energy, but emits air pollutants. Policies of "not in my back yard" have led to some states becoming large waste exporters, while others have welcomed out-of-state waste because of the revenue it generates. Despite the societal costs, the per capita MSW generation has hovered around 1.3 tons per year for the last several years. This talk will discuss some of the current trends in waste management and why more progress has not been made in decreasing the percentage of MSW that is landfilled.
Department of Anthropology
University of Colorado, Denver
Conservation in a Neoliberal Age
Proponents of large landscape conservation argue that it will protect entire ecosystems, while engaging and benefiting human communities in the process. However, critics of this perspective point out that large landscape approaches are convenient to large conservation organizations, as it allows them to command much larger sums of money and to dominate the global conservation industry. Moreover, the current proliferation of protected areas, including those established by conservation organizations and for-profit business, is occurring at the same time as the spread of neoliberal capitalism, leading some observers to wonder whether these processes are interlinked. Certainly this process has led to the increased displacement of local people and alienation of their natural resources. Significantly, these processes are being funded in part by corporations like Exxon, Starbucks and Wal-Mart, which not only fund conservation organizations, but sit on their boards and even create their own like the Africa Parks Foundation. Finally, contemporary conservation interventions are happening in a context in which old ideas of state sovereignty. We can best conceptualize this situation as one of ‘Private Indirect Government,’ in which restructured states no longer govern but provide sovereignty – the means of coercion that make it possible to control resources previously controlled by the state. In this context, transnational networks of conservation NGOs, private enterprise, and state actors are an increasingly common force in landscape conservation. These networks behave in ways that are surprisingly different from how we normally imagine conservation interventions should occur. I believe that understanding the dynamics of these relatively new conditions in many different contexts is essential to doing effective Environmental Justice work in conservation landscapes anywhere in the world.
Jim Igoe is an assistant professor of anthropology and a senior fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program. He has just returned from Tanzania, where he conducted research on large landscape conservation with special attention to the role of transnational conservation organizations and transnational capital. He is currently exploring the interpenetration of conservation and neoliberal capitalism on a global scale and its implications for local communities.
Michigan State University
Race and Environmental Preservation in the Amazon: Contesting Hydroelectric Dams
In this paper, I explore social movement frameworks of environmental preservation and indigenous protection used in contesting the construction of large hydroelectric dams in the Brazilian Amazon. The Brazilian government is planning twelve to twenty-five dams in the Amazon. Due to the environmental sensitivity of the region and the potentially sweeping impacts on indigenous populations, local, national and international contention is developing. While an environmental justice framework has not historically guided the anti-dam movement, the movement’s increasing need to deal with government plans that will impact indigenous populations has motivated activists to direct more attention to race and ethnicity. Such a framework intersects with one oriented to environmental preservation and Amazonian protection. I examine how grassroots, national-level and transnational organizations differentially shape these two, sometimes divergent frameworks. I ask how social movement actors share similar approaches or compete with one another in producing a dominant discourse. Each of these frameworks of contestation is related to analogous governance structures that protect demarcated indigenous areas or rainforest. Therefore, overlapping frameworks have the potential to empower movements in shaping policy, while fragmentation of frameworks could lead to decreased efficacy. I focus on two recent cases to examine these processes: Belo Monte Dam in the eastern Amazon and Rio Madeira in the western part of the region. The former was recently passed after more than a decade of contestation. The latter is in the early planning stages. These cases inform how contestation over other large hydroelectric dams in the Amazon will be rejected or resolved.
Department of Environmental Studies
University of California, Santa Cruz
The past 25 years has seen a rapid enclosure of the genetic resource commons with private property rights being drawn at the molecular scale and enforced at the global. This enclosure has not gone unchallenged, as activists have challenged the imposition of the commodity form on seed. In this short presentation I will describe the way that scale shapes the way that activists challenge the enclosure of the genetic commons. On the one hand activists look to the global scale for governance. But with genetic resources being non-rival in consumption the spatial scale of the resource itself less relevant. Genetic resources are mobile and not bounded by extent. The shapes the discourse of farmers rights and food security activists as they describe the resource enclosure, not in the spatial dimensions of the enclosure, but its temporal dimensions. They emphasize that this resource is one of common heritage, the labor of generations of farmers. The characteristics of genetic resources also shape the justifications for enclosure, as they are unable to rely on tragedy of the commons and free rider type arguments. But even where activists see clear sides in conflict over the rights of farmers and the intellectual property rights, their positions may conflict when concerns about biosafety, conservation, and the environment are introduced. This is readily apparent in the conflict over the so-called terminator technology that renders seeds sterile, a biological enclosure. The United Nations has adopted a moratoria on the technology. However, there are tensions between the need to contain genetically engineered organisms and the rights of farmers to save seed. The ecological risks associated with the introduction of genetically engineered organisms (GEOs) into the environment have prompted groups like the Ecological Society of America and the National Academy of Sciences to endorse physical and biological containment practices, including terminator technology, on the grounds of precaution. This is partly because the scalar dimensions of ecological risk are different than those of enclosure. The scalar dimensions of ecological risk are truly spatial, with specific risks to specific places. This is an important point that distinguishes fundamental differences among opponents of GEOs. It highlights the cracks and fissures that emerge when social mobilization against common opponent is based on different motivations and perceptions of scale, underscoring tensions between precautionary policies and resource rights.
Dustin Mulvaney is a doctoral candidate in Environmental Studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz. His research looks at the social resistance to transgenic organisms drawing on political ecology and social movement theory. This research shows how scalar power asymmetries, agro-food system restructuring, and discourse shape social movement’s ability to govern some transgenic commodities more than others.
Kristen Walker Painemilla
Conservation International’s Indigenous and Traditional Peoples Initiative
Building a Common Agenda between Indigenous Peoples and Conservation
Indigenous and traditional communities, which make up approximately 370 million people in 70 counties worldwide often depend on the plants and animals from healthy ecosystems for their food, fuel, clothing, medicine, and shelter. The economies, identities, spiritual and cultural values, and social and political institutions of these peoples are also dependent upon maintaining local ecosystems.
Over time, numerous circumstances, colonial histories, modern policies, and discriminatory acts have marginalized the world’s indigenous and traditional populations, directly contributing to four principal problems: 1) land tenure disputes; 2) lack of capacity to manage critical natural resources; 3) persistent extreme poverty; and 4) the repression of local voices and rights in key decision-making processes.
In recent decades the global community has paid increased attention to the unique issues and concerns of indigenous and traditional communities through efforts such as the Indigenous Peoples Policies among various countries and global entities. This global recognition and awareness is not without decades of struggles by the world’s indigenous people at the local, national and global scales to create this space within the global context; however even with these advances, today they still remain among the poorest people on earth.
These circumstances demand that conservation organization partner with indigenous peoples at local, national and global scales to build a common agenda in order to counter the growing threats to their lands, resources, and livelihoods.
Kristen is the Executive Director of CI's Indigenous and Traditional Peoples Initiative. She has developed a new process through which CI can thoroughly assess work with indigenous people and build an effective dialogue for collaboration between Conservation International and indigenous communities. She is an anthropologist and Fulbright Scholar who has conducted research in Chile on the Mapuche and Pehuenche communities. She is the President of the US Board of Directors for the Chol Chol Foundation, serves as Vice Chair of the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force and is a Senior Fellow with the Environmental Leadership Program
Department of Anthropology
As a “biodiversity hotspot,” Borneo is home to literally thousands of endangered species found in only this region of the world. Environmentalists and animal lovers around the world seek to protect tropical forests for orangutans and other charismatic megafauna in Sabah, Malaysia, which is located on the northeastern tip of Borneo. Protecting orangutan habitats challenge the
objectives of the palm oil industry, which is the largest industry in Sabah. This paper outlines the concept of forests in Sabah, Malaysia and shows how different definitions of forests may lead to different concepts of environmentalism. This paper suggests that environmentalism in developed
nations may unintentionally degrade environments in less developed nations.
History of Science
I will explore a recent public dispute in which three groups of people—academic scientists, commercial fossil collectors, and members of the South Dakota Sioux tribe--all claimed ownership of an unusually large and complete T-Rex fossil. Each of the three groups had a somewhat different idea of what this object actually is: professional paleontologists thought of it as a scientific specimen off of which to read the history of life on earth, the South Dakota Sioux saw it as the remains of one of the many spiritual beings that roam their land and tribal myths, and commercial collectors argued that it should be viewed as a commodity like any other. (Curiously, in federal court proceedings the presiding judge ruled that under the law vertebrate fossils actually qualify as land). This dispute is interesting because what you think the T. rex "is" goes a long way towards dictating what you ought to do with it. Paleontologists, for example argue that in order for the T. rex fossil to be of use as a scientific specimen, they must excavate the fossil, bring it to a public educational institution, and prepare it for study. The Sioux, on the other hand, generally feel that tribal tradition forbids the desecration of burial sites and that vertebrate fossils ought therefore to be left where they were found (which to the scientists means they will inevitably be lost to the geological forces of erosion). This case study illustrates that a viable fossil resource policy must accommodate not only the interests but also the beliefs and cultural practices of the diverse actors involved. The challenge will be to create a coherent, effective, and fair policy that meets this demand.
Lukas Rieppel is a PhD student in History of Science at Harvard. He works mostly on the history of 20th Century Evolutionary Biology and Behavioral Ecology; however, he also has a strong interest in environmental history and conservation movements (past and present).
Sarah P. Robinson
Department of Anthropology
Why it’s not really (or only a little) about the commons:
Some characteristics of efforts to manage New England’s groundfisheries
The New England groundfisheries – like fisheries all around the world – are frequently analyzed as if their greatest problem is the classic commons problem of unregulated and insecure access to a valuable resource. However, this analysis is inaccurate and incomplete. The analysis is inaccurate because the fishery is not an open access fishery; rather, the fishery has been closed to new entrants (and steadily losing participants) since 1994. The analysis is incomplete because there are profound difficulties in management that have little or nothing to do with the ‘commons problem.’ This presentation briefly discusses two of these difficulties: (1) inherent difficulties of managing to meet fishing mortality goals (“F-based management”), and (2) difficulties posed by the fact that the groundfisheries are a “multispecies” fishery. These difficulties have powered a succession of disappointments in the fishery, but they are little recognized for their effects on the dynamics of management. Instead, the calls to solve the commons problem – in one or another variant – continue. The presentation concludes with the argument that advocacy and activism must engage the technical details of management.
Sarah Robinson is completing her dissertation in social anthropology at Harvard University; her dissertation is an ethnographic and historical investigation of the processes and effects of attempts to regulate the New England groundfisheries. In 2000, she received a doctorate in law (S.J.D.) from Harvard Law School, for a legal history of fishing laws in early modern England and colonial Massachusetts. Prior to her doctoral studies, Robinson worked as an environmental lawyer at the U.S. Dept. of Justice, litigating a wide variety of environmental cases in federal courts of appeals around the United States.
Dr. Fiona Rotberg
Director, Environmental Security in Asia Project
Silk Road Studies Program
The Siachen Glacier of Pakistan and India: No Man’s Land for Peace and Conservation
The proposed Siachen Glacier Peace Park in Pakistan and India is a recent and potentially exciting example of how conflicting parties could move towards peace while also conserving biodiversity, and providing equal access to a natural resource. Water resources from the Siachen Glacier serve over a million inhabitants in both Pakistan and India.
This presentation will give a short background to the militant conflict that led to the proposed establishment of the Siachen Glacier Peace Park. It will then address the steps that were taken to ensure that resource rights were adequately taken into account, while also protecting the local biodiversity. The concept that conservation efforts can be a vehicle to deescalate conflict and even a tool for peace will be discussed.
Through analysis and discussion of this case, local and international actors can learn and apply lessons to similar situations where natural resource rights and resource access can be addressed while also working towards conservation, and peace.
Dr. Fiona J.Y. Rotberg is the Director of the Environmental Security in Asia project, and a Research Fellow at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program at Uppsala University, Sweden. Fiona’s research focuses on environmental security and conflict management. Fiona earned a Ph.D. in International Natural Resources Policy and Negotiation and Mediation from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. She earned an M.A. in International Land Use Management from Tufts University, a certificate degree from the Political Theory and Policy Analysis Institute at Indiana University, and a B.A. in Political Science and Russian Studies from Oberlin College. She is the Editor for Environmental Security Issues for the World Security Network Foundation.
Fellow, Oakland Institute
Biodiversity and Biotechnology: A Latin American Perspective
The ever growing global controversy over genetically engineered (GE) crops is particularly intense in Latin America, which has become the biotech industry's brave new frontier. In fact, South America alone has most of the world's GE crop acreage outside the US and Canada.
Biotech supporters are euphoric, claiming GE seeds will help feed the poor, provide badly needed foreign exchange to the countries of the global South, benefit all farmers, and pave the way to an eco-friendly agriculture that uses less agrochemicals. But opponents and skeptics warn that GE technology is inherently risky, is based on a flawed and obsolete scientific paradigm, and is a technical fix that will not solve the problems of hunger and poverty, which are essentially social and political, not technical. Furthermore, they hold that these novel crops herald new forms of dependence and domination because they are no more than a continuation of the economically inequitable and ecologically unsustainable model of corporate-controlled industrial agriculture.
The struggle over biotech crops has everything to do with politics. The technology's supporters include the US government and agribusiness giants that describe themselves as "life sciences" corporations, like Monsanto. Incidentally, the same geopolitical and business interests that are pushing the neoliberal free trade agenda in the Americas. Standing in opposition are environmentalists, grassroots activists, indigenous peoples and popular movements like Brazil's Landless People's Movement- the same sectors that crashed the US's attempt to establish the FTAA and are now spearheading the opposition to US_Central America Free Trade Agreement and bilateral free trade treaties.
Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero is a journalist and an environmental educator. He is a Fellow of the Oakland Institute, and a Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program, and was a Senior Fellow of the Society of Environmental Journalists from 2002-2004. He frequently writes and lectures on the social and environmental impacts of genetic engineering and industrial agriculture and strategies for social justice and environmental sustainability. His articles have appeared on Alternet, Corporate Watch, One World, IPS News, E Magazine, Grist, IRC Americas Program, New York Daily News, Yes! Magazine, La Jornada (Mexico) and in many other Spanish-language media. He is the author of the forthcoming book, "Transgenic Ballad: Biotechnology, Globalization and the Clash of Paradigms".
Christine J. Walley
Debating ‘Sustainable Development’: Social Class and the Politics of Water in a Tanzanian and a U.S. Community
This paper explores water politics in two sites in an effort to break down the symbolic and analytical boundaries often drawn between so-called First/Third Worlds, urban/rural dwellers, and pristine/polluted environments. The first site is East Africa’s Mafia Island Marine Park, the first national marine park within Tanzania. Intended to create “sustainable development” through ecotourism, the park, although originally supported by island residents, is now viewed as waging a “war” against them. The second site is the watery landscape of Southeast Chicago that was once dominated by enormous, now defunct, steel mills. Community groups here have been spearheading attempts to rehabilitate the local river, remaining wetlands, and toxic brownfields to create a “heritage corridor” of parks that would help revitalize the region. In an era dominated by appeals to neo-liberalism, community groups in both sites have felt it necessary generate external support and funding for local health and economic concerns by appealing to elite interest in parks and tourism. This paper explores the submerged class dimensions of these debates over what might be termed “sustainable development.” By juxtaposing these two superficially very different sites, this paper seeks to cross-fertilize the insights of political ecology and environmental justice paradigms in productive ways.
Chris Walley is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at MIT. She wrote Rough Waters: Nature and Development in an East African Marine Park (Princeton, 2004) about environmental conflict in Tanzania. She is currently working on a project about the former steel mill districts of Southeast Chicago.
Harvard School of Public Health
Health and Environmental Impacts of Industrial Mining Production: Tar Creek Superfund Site, Oklahoma
The Tar Creek Superfund site is home to one of the world’s largest former lead and zinc mines as well as ten Native American tribes. A case study will be presented examining the health, environmental, and social impacts of mining-related pollution in these communities. State, federal, and community responses to the situation will be discussed from an environmental justice perspective, examining the tension between remediation and relocation strategies.
Ami Zota is a doctoral candidate in the department of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health where she is conducting community-based environmental health research. Her doctoral thesis examines the relationship between heavy metal pollutants in mining waste and adverse health outcomes in children at the Tar Creek Superfund site in rural Oklahoma, an area populated by many people of Native American descent. She is a senior fellow of the ELP national fellows program and currently an advisory board member of the ELP Greater Boston Regional Network.