Glocal environmental justice

Glocal environmental justice – Mariana Walter and Marta Conde (ICTA-UAB)

Wednesday 8th July, 12.00-13.30, UAB Campus

In the first part of the class we will introduce some features of large-scale mining and its related social, environmental and economic pressures. We will carry out an overview of the evolution of resistance to mining movements, its main motivations, demands and discourses.
In the second part of the class we will discuss some the strategies used by these movements in environmental justice conflicts related to large-scale mining activities in Latin America and Africa. In the case of Latin America we will analyse the emergence and spread of community led-consultations. From 2002 to 2012, 68 community consultations/referenda on large-scale mining activities have been conducted in Latin America challenging centralized decision-making procedures. These community consultations are not fostered by national governments or mining companies. Around 700.000 people have participated, expressing a massive rejection of mining activities in Peru, Guatemala, Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador. We will discuss that such consultations are not isolated experiences as
suggested by previous analysis but they constitute a strategy learned and transformed through anti-mining networks.
In the case of Africa we will see how grassroots organizations have been liaising with scientific experts to learn from them the tools and scientific language they need to protect themselves from the impacts of mining and refute the manufactured or produced information of mining companies. Based on two uranium mining cases in Africa, we show how these processes are locally driven by local organisations that engage in a knowledge co-production framework with the expert. The legitimacy acquired by the grassroots organisations that engage in this process has allowed them to challenge the companies and government in environmental justice conflicts.
Using both cases we will reflect on the glocal linkages that have allowed these strategies to develop and the implications of glocal networks in environmental justice conflicts.

Background reading material:

Urkidi, Leire and Mariana Walter. 2011. Dimensions of environmental justice in anti- gold mining movements in Latin America. Geoforum, 42: 683-695.

Optional readings:
Bridge, G. (2004). Contested Terrain: Mining and the Environment. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 29(1), 205–259.
Conde, M. (2014). Activism mobilising science. Ecological Economics, 105, 67-77.
Walter, M., Urkidi, L. Community mining consultations in Latin America (2002-2012). The contested emergence of a hybrid institution for participation. Under review for publication.

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