Seminar series 2021-2022

Environments on the Threshold: Politics, Ecology and Extraction in Latin America
Convenors: Patrick O’Hare and Ana Gutierrez Garza

In the context of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be hosted in Glasgow, CAS turns its attention to the environment for its 5pm (GMT) 2021/22 virtual seminar series. Latin America has long been simultaneously a place of hope and despair with regard to its diverse environments. Recent years have seen the increased devastation of important planetary ecosystems such as the Amazon rainforest, while monoculture plantations, mining, and the intensified use of GMOs and pesticides have emerged as leading concerns in the region. In turn, these have given birth to vibrant environmental movements, whether these be classified as ‘bourgeoise environmentalism’ or the ‘environmentalism of the poor’. Indigenous peoples have often been at the forefront of efforts to defend their ecosystems and have provided important concepts that point towards more sustainable ways of inhabiting our planet, most notably that of Sumak Kawsay/ Buen Vivir. Through a range of stimulating presentations from international scholars, this seminar series explores such important concepts and how they sit, often uncomfortably, alongside the extractivism of multinational corporations and neo-developmentalist governments, many of the latter pertaining to the so-called progressive ‘pink tide’. We also have the pleasure of including two virtual events as part of the ‘Amplifying Amerindian Voices’ project that will feature participation of three indigenous (Mundurucú, Shipibo-Conibo, and Tupinambá) leaders, women known for their environmental activism, two of whom are also artists.