Grabbing ‘Green’:

Home » Abstracts

Abstracts

Download Abstracts

 

Zachary R. Anderson  Department of Geography,
University of Toronto
Seeing REDD: Climate Change and the Violence of Green Growth. The merger of environmental conservation with neoliberal development policy over the last three decades has given rise to the ideology of ‘green growth’; which seeks to maximize economic growth while avoiding unsustainable pressure on the natural world. Green growth relies on the development of schemes such as “payments for ecosystem services”, through which environmental protection can be achieved within a competitive-market framework. However, the creation of new green commodities, such as carbon credits, and the reorganization of social relations associated with them, is fundamentally shifting existing ontological categories, such as time, labor, and citizenship. For example, the changing social relations associated with REDD+ project development often force forest-dependent people to enter to either seek generally underpaid wage-based employment in areas outside of traditional forest-based livelihoods, or accept compensation for non-work. This paper investigates how different actors are enrolled into projects of green growth, both materially and ideologically, precipitating changes in local social relations including traditional forms of land tenure, and customary land and resource rights. Specifically, this project examines REDD+ development in order to provide a richer understanding of the role that coercive and structural violence plays in the establishment of green growth initiatives.
Evangelia Apostolopoulou
Department of Ecology, School of Biology,
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Economic Crisis, Neoliberalization and the Grabbing of Nature? Since the 2007 global financial crisis started to unfold, the dominance of neoliberalism has been revealed in the “bailout” packages of the EU and the IMF, and in governments’ policy actions around the globe. The intensification of the neoliberalization of nature has been a fundamental element of the post-crisis era testifying the key role of nature to capital accumulation. We compare the way the nature conservation policy of two governments (Greece and UK) has been restructured in response to the global economic crisis by focusing on the abrupt policy shifts that followed the 2008 financial “crash”. We analyze the privatization of public nature assets, and the processes of deregulation and reregulation in both countries. We also explore the rise of the idea and practice of biodiversity banking in the UK case and the springing of the debt trap as a primary means of accumulation by dispossession in the Greek case. By drawing on examples of nature neoliberalization from two countries with contrasting economies within the EU, we aim to shed light on certain inherent contradictions of “green capitalism” that have become more visible during the crisis.  We explore the opportunistic character and the variegated, dynamic and contingent forms of current neoliberalization(s) of nature. We argue that the economic crisis legitimated and accelerated a sharp policy shift that transformed the “hybrid neoliberalizations” that had developed since the 1990s through the strategic penetration of capital into nature. We conclude that the post-crisis capitalist production of nature goes hand in glove with a contradictory representation of nature as both a barrier and a source of current capital accumulation leaving for “nature” two choices: either to be further degraded to boost growth or to be “saved” through its deeper inclusion as a commodity visible to the market.
Evangelia Apostolopoulou
Department of Ecology, School of Biology,
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
.
The contradictions of capitalist conservation: economic crisis and the new stage in the production of nature Karl Marx long ago suggested that capitalism’s crises can be transformed to opportunities for the restructuring of capital accumulation. While capitalism has historically expanded the production of nature horizontally in space/time and through the formal subsumption of nature, since the late 70s, as Neil Smith argues, this trend has been “superseded by an intensive production” and a real subsumption of nature (Smith, 2007). This integration of nature into capital radically transformed biodiversity conservation: “preserving” biodiversity for future capitalist needs while simultaneously gaining profits from its current commodification. This contradiction is expressed through the dominant approach that biodiversity and the “services” it provides should be internalized into markets in order to be saved.

The fact that we are living through the post-crisis shattering of the neoliberal utopia represents an unprecedented opportunity to study nature-society relationships at their most volatile. Drawing on Marxian value theory and the work of David Harvey, Neil Smith, Noel Castree, Cindi Katz and Morgan Robertson we investigate how the capitalist production of nature is being transformed during capitalist restructuring. We draw on global historical-geographical data regarding the expansion of ecological commodities such as biodiversity offsets, payments for ecosystem services and REDD as well as on recent developments concerning metrological regimes for natural capital.

We discovered that capital’s need for carving out new territories for capital accumulation during the crisis results in the deepening of the production of nature quantitatively (the rapid intensification of exploitation); qualitatively (the new elements of exploitation); as well as geographically (the uneven spatial spread of commodified biodiversity). We conclude that while nature ‘involution’ accelerates in the post-crisis production of nature, the expansive mode becomes prevalent again (and more repressive) in the class struggle for capital survival.

Rishi Ram Bastakoti
Geography Department,
University of Calgary
Community Forestry, Carbon Trade and Neoliberal Forest Governance in Nepal: First Lessons Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) has become a central component  of neoliberal climate change efforts especially targeting forests in the Global South. Treating carbon as a commodity has created economic pressures for communities, whose livelihoods enter into competition with global conservation efforts to increase carbon stocks. The REDD+ framework is adding complexity to an already complex framework of rights and resources, and might jeopardize past successes of decentralized forest governance. This paper analyzes recent Nepalese forest policy lessons in two areas of conflict: (1) the challenge of an increasingly multi-scalar governance that shifts between global environmental interests and local institutions; (2) the clash between emerging neoliberal privatization and the strong established culture of local collective governance. Both areas of conflict have put considerable pressure on community forestry institutions in Nepal. New problems are set to emerge from unresolved issues surrounding carbon ownership and conflicting interests between the state –bound by international commitments– and local forest communities. The policy context of Nepal indicates that the state has a strong economic incentive toward performance-based carbon forestry which would undermine the multiple objectives of community forestry shifting the notion of traditional single-scale local commons to  globalized multi-scale commons.
Sarah Benabou
IFRIS/Centre Alexandre Koyreacute; Paris
Converting losses into gains? Questioning the business case for biodiversity offsets This paper critically engages with one of the latest trends in market environmentalism, namely biodiversity offsets. Biodiversity offsets are defined as conservation measures intended to compensate for the unavoidable environmental harm caused by development projects, so as to ensure “no net loss” of biodiversity. This recent phenomenon is an attempt to work towards a logic that can supposedly reconcile the interests of private enterprise with the protection of the biosphere, as the carbon-trading market is claimed to have achieved. The current development of governmental biodiversity offsets programs has been largely influenced by the pioneering system of mitigation banking put in place in the USA in the 1980s. In many countries however, especially in the global South, this type of institutional framework does not yet exist, yet Western companies engaged in large infrastructure projects there are increasingly encouraged by major financial institutions to take action on a voluntary basis to restore the biodiversity they damage through their activities. To support and eventually benefit from these actions carried out by very large companies (such as Shell, BP, Rio Tinto, etc.), a whole range of actors and coalitions are developing “best practices” on biodiversity offsets, testing and investing in them through various pilot projects. Rather than delving into a specific case study of one of these pilot projects, this paper will seek to explore the somewhat blurred contours of this nascent pseudo-market as a whole. By drawing on the author’s interviews with key players in this transnational field and relating these to a wider examination of the contradictions within the process of designing and implementing biodiversity offsets, we will consider why voluntary biodiversity offsets have gained so much traction worldwide, but also what are the limits to the expansion of this new form of appropriation of nature.
Tor Arve Benjaminsen
Department of Environment and Development Studies (Noragric),
Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Virtual Nature, Violent Accumulation: A Critical Political Ecology of Carbon Market Failure at Mt. Elgon, Uganda In East Africa, financially strained governments increasingly adopt voluntary, market-based carbon offset schemes for bolstering the public management of protected areas. Often, conservationists portray these as ‘triple-win’ solutions for climate change mitigation, biodiversity preservation, and local socioeconomic development. Examining such rhetoric, this paper analyses an integrated carbon offset and conservation initiative at Mount Elgon National Park in eastern Uganda, involving a partnership between the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and a Dutch NGO, the FACE Foundation. In doing so, the paper utilizes a mixed-methods approach, alongside a theoretical perspective rooted in critical political ecology, revealing the ways in which the uncompensated dispossession of thousands of local residents was necessary for the project’s implementation. Indeed, these expropriations constitute one of the largest and bloodiest evictions for environmental protection in Uganda’s post-colonial history, effectively subsidizing the UWA-FACE project’s participation in global ecosystem service markets. Yet, although external auditors expected the project to sequester 3.73 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) between 1994 and 2034, conflicts forced the scheme to cease reforestation in 2003. Noting such contestations, we problematize the ways in which the FACE Foundation and other carbon market intermediaries represented their activities to prospective consumers via websites and social media, obscuring the violence that marked the project’s implementation. In so doing, the paper argues that virtual representations fetishize carbon offsets-as-commodities, and obfuscate the divergent social, ecological, and political relations of production that divide Northern emitters of carbon dioxide from sequestration-proximal communities in the Global South. Such representations assert a false commensurability of tCO2e – one that must be problematized and resisted, as it is increasingly employed to violently acquire territory from rural populations elsewhere in Uganda, as well as in Sub-Saharan Africa more broadly.
Valérie Boisvert
PALOC Centre – Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle,
Paris, France
Genealogy and cartography of Green Economy in Rio+20 Whereas the Rio Conference in 1992 had played a major role in the
diffusion of sustainable development as a new paradigm or integrative framework to reflect on the relationship between economies and the environment, Rio + 20 Summit was meant to be a celebration of ‘green economy’. The latter did not actually take place and the importance of green economy has been considerably downplayed in the Declaration, compared to the first drafts that were circulated prior to the Conference. Though the notion is (purposedly?) kept vague and did not meet with the success expected by its promoters, it still illustrates a new or further stage in the representation of the relationship between nature and societies. In the 1970s, the environment was considered as a set of constraints, imposing various physical and ecological limitations on economic activity. The advent of sustainable development introduced changes in this representation: economic development or growth was considered as possibly compatible with environmental protection. In the green
economy narrative, the environment and its protection or management are represented as the very drivers of economic growth. The inherent contradictions in capitalist accumulation that lead to dispossession and nature degradation are dismissed. A non-confrontational view of environmental policies based on win-win strategies is considered as plausible. The diverging views of the various actors and constituencies could be reconciled, at least in the future, thanks to technical innovations, social engineering, and the building of a shared and common future. We contend that green economy is above all a promise, or a self-fulfilling prophecy and our purpose is to describe and analyse it as such.
Dimitrios Bormpoudakis
School of Anthropology and Conservation,
University of Kent
UK and School of Agriculture, Policy and Development,
University of Reading, UK
The contradictions of capitalist conservation: economic crisis and the new stage in the production of nature Karl Marx long ago suggested that capitalism’s crises can be transformed to opportunities for the restructuring of capital accumulation. While capitalism has historically expanded the production of nature horizontally in space/time and through the formal subsumption of nature, since the late 70s, as Neil Smith argues, this trend has been “superseded by an intensive production” and a real subsumption of nature (Smith, 2007). This integration of nature into capital radically transformed biodiversity conservation: “preserving” biodiversity for future capitalist needs while simultaneously gaining profits from its current commodification. This contradiction is expressed through the dominant approach that biodiversity and the “services” it provides should be internalized into markets in order to be saved.

The fact that we are living through the post-crisis shattering of the neoliberal utopia represents an unprecedented opportunity to study nature-society relationships at their most volatile. Drawing on Marxian value theory and the work of David Harvey, Neil Smith, Noel Castree, Cindi Katz and Morgan Robertson we investigate how the capitalist production of nature is being transformed during capitalist restructuring. We draw on global historical-geographical data regarding the expansion of ecological commodities such as biodiversity offsets, payments for ecosystem services and REDD as well as on recent developments concerning metrological regimes for natural capital.

We discovered that capital’s need for carving out new territories for capital accumulation during the crisis results in the deepening of the production of nature quantitatively (the rapid intensification of exploitation); qualitatively (the new elements of exploitation); as well as geographically (the uneven spatial spread of commodified biodiversity). We conclude that while nature ‘involution’ accelerates in the post-crisis production of nature, the expansive mode becomes prevalent again (and more repressive) in the class struggle for capital survival.

Bram Buscher
Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University
University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Vita Productio? Hannah Arendt and the Political Economy of Nature Conservation Under pressures from global capitalist restructuring, rapidly changing geopolitical power structures, increasing impacts of climate change and other environmental problems and many other transformations in the ‘human condition’, it is clear that the notion of conservation as well as it institutionalised, political forms demand radical rethinking and new forms of theory. I argue that the work of political philosopher Hannah Arendt provides an excellent start for such fresh and unconventional theorization. Rarely used in relation to nature conservation and political ecology, Arendt’s insights with respect to relations between labor, work and action (her Vita Activa), technology and society, human freedom, ‘world alienation’ (rather than Marx’ self-alienation) and culture/nature are of great relevance to understanding the role of conservation within our current ‘human condition’. Building on these insights, the paper asks new questions with respect to the contemporary political economy of conservation in general and the role and meaning of ‘production’ within this political economy in particular. It concludes that a radically different understanding of the role and meaning of ‘production’ may help to engender the rebirth of a notion of conservation that encourages rather then discourages just and sustainable human-nature relations.
Chris Buse
Dalla Lana School of Public Health,
University of Toronto
Democratizing Power: Environmental Justice in Toronto In the twenty-first century, urban centres such as Toronto, have become a focal point for concerns about the energy conservation and renewable energy, even as urban development and consumption continue to produce high levels of waste and pollution. Policies such as Ontario’s Green Energy and Economy Act (GEEA) seek to ‘green’ methods of production and consumption, and have been offered as a potential solution to energy and environmental challenges. Employing an environmental justice lens, we analyze the GEEA , first, to critique the neo-liberal and green capitalist ideologies embedded in the policy, and second, to examine the interests of actors in the emerging Ontario community power sector. Access to the power grid for more diverse players is identified as a potential site for the democratization of participation in keeping with the goals of environmental justice. Drawing on in-depth interviews with ENGO leaders, the paper considers the success and challenges that community power groups encounter in accessing the power grid, and examines the case of a successful community power initiative.
Lisa M. Campbell
Duke University Marine Laboratory,
Duke University
On the blue horizon: tracing the emergence and evolution of blue economy at Rio+20 Using data collected at the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (i.e., Rio+20) via a collaborative event ethnography, this paper traces the discursive emergence of blue economy. Initially utilized amidst the build-up to Rio+20, the term blue economy was widely invoked but variously defined at the summit itself. Thus, in addition to tracing its emergence, we document how various actors and groups employed blue economy, illustrating how it was used to advocate particular visions of human use and interaction with ‘global oceans’. We examine the dominant actors promoting, and the overlaps and divergences between, three prominent visions of the blue economy: (1) a coordinated system of regulatory and market-based mechanisms that incentivize more sustainable behavior in existing marine sectors; (2) the widespread quantification and valuation of ‘nature’s infrastructure’ and marine ecosystem services in national accounts and planning, enabled and encouraged through the coalescence of scientific knowledge, private finance and international actors; and (3) small-scale fishers and small island developing states gaining greater access and/or benefit sharing from fisheries or other marine development activities. At this point the blue economy is far from an agreed-upon institutional framework to structure human-oceans interaction. Yet, its emergence and injection into a variety of Rio+20 fora signals that numerous interests seek to discipline powerful international actors to understand the ecology, economic potential(s), and socio-cultural value(s) of oceans in regional, national and global terms. If this is the case, continuing efforts to define and draw support(ers) to particular visions of the blue economy warrant attention for their discursive evolution and for how they impact oceans conservation and development practice.
Liam Campling
School of Business and Management,
Queen Mary, University of London
Modern landed property and industrial fisheries The main objective of this paper is to explore the multiple forms of ‘tenure’ that exist in fisheries systems and how they are politically constituted and situated at multiple scales vis-à-vis resource conservation and food production debates.  We engage critically with mainstream accounts of the ownership and distribution of fishing rights and their links to and fissures from ‘the right to fish’ and ‘the right to food’. We develop an original critical synthesis of existing work on fisheries and social-property relations at three scales:

1) International institutions and the ‘scramble for fish’. This section will document and analyze World Bank policy prescriptions on tenure and put this framing in discussion with the United Nation’s dialog on ‘ocean grabbing’ as a threat to the right to food globally.

2) National government regulation of fisheries resources. This section will critically assess the state’s role as modern landed property vis-à-vis the definition and allocation of fisheries rights, and the state’s mediation of relations between ‘local’ and ‘foreign’ fishing interests.

3) Artisanal and small-scale systems of tenure based on community and customary rights. This section will address questions of social and political hierarchy and the role of local-level governance structures in determining and regulating fisheries social-property relations and production dynamics.

Our analysis turns on two arguments. First, that fisheries tenure is not a technical fix to economic and ecological problems, but must be understood politically and in the context of diverse and uneven geographies of capitalist accumulation. Second, to enhance the political effectiveness of struggles around the right to fish and associated discourses of food sovereignty, requires that fishers’ movements engage squarely with the power and political dynamics at the multi-scalar sites in which tenure politics are mediated.

Carlos del Campo
Global Diversity Foundation
New faces of ecological imperialism in Mexican forests: at the intersection of Payments for Environmental Services and Voluntary Conserved Areas Since 2003, the Mexican Commission for Protected Areas has certified community-based Voluntary Conserved Areas (VCAs), with the goal of incorporating them into the National Register of Protected Areas. VCAs are often located in places traditionally managed by indigenous peoples; they also intersect with Mexico’s green economy, which includes Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) programmes. Based on a case study of how VCAs and PES have affected the wellbeing and social cohesion of Chinantec communities in northern Oaxaca, this paper examines how both elements intersect to constitute a new form of ecological imperialism – one possible face of the global green grab.
A classic Marxian view of ecological imperialism sees it as a teleological capitalist process whereby the centre’s unsustainable growth depends on the periphery’s ecological degradation, social exclusion and economic marginalisation. The authors complement this perspective by providing a Foucauldian-inspired analysis of one of ecological imperialism’s prime tools for expansion: neoliberal governmentality. The paper suggests that such governmental techniques are what enable the effective exercise of ecological imperialism in spaces that, so far, had been physically removed from the centres of governance, thus extending empire into the periphery rather than simply exploiting it. The paper argues that neoliberal technologies of power and global political economic structures of inequality must be examined in tandem in order to make sense of how conservation and the green economy are transforming the lives and futures of Chinantec people – and more broadly Mexican Indigenous communities – and their relationship to their communal lands and resources.
Emily Caruso
Global Diversity Foundation
New faces of ecological imperialism in Mexican forests: at the intersection of Payments for Environmental Services and Voluntary Conserved Areas Since 2003, the Mexican Commission for Protected Areas has certified community-based Voluntary Conserved Areas (VCAs), with the goal of incorporating them into the National Register of Protected Areas. VCAs are often located in places traditionally managed by indigenous peoples; they also intersect with Mexico’s green economy, which includes Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) programmes. Based on a case study of how VCAs and PES have affected the wellbeing and social cohesion of Chinantec communities in northern Oaxaca, this paper examines how both elements intersect to constitute a new form of ecological imperialism – one possible face of the global green grab.

A classic Marxian view of ecological imperialism sees it as a teleological capitalist process whereby the centre’s unsustainable growth depends on the periphery’s ecological degradation, social exclusion and economic marginalisation. The authors complement this perspective by providing a Foucauldian-inspired analysis of one of ecological imperialism’s prime tools for expansion: neoliberal governmentality. The paper suggests that such governmental techniques are what enable the effective exercise of ecological imperialism in spaces that, so far, had been physically removed from the centres of governance, thus extending empire into the periphery rather than simply exploiting it. The paper argues that neoliberal technologies of power and global political economic structures of inequality must be examined in tandem in order to make sense of how conservation and the green economy are transforming the lives and futures of Chinantec people – and more broadly Mexican Indigenous communities – and their relationship to their communal lands and resources.

Monica Castro
Universite de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour
The political ecology of ecosystem services The dominance of “ecosystem services” as a guiding concept for environmental management hides the fact that there are choices implicit in its framing and in its application. In other words, it is a highly political concept. In the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), the concept of ecosystem services is presented as a neutral, obvious, taken-for-granted, and accepted by a consensus of the report’s 1300 authors. By analyzing the MEA and case study examples from different tropical rain forest contexts, we show that different choices are required to define, measure, and value ecosystem services, all of which have ecological and political consequences. First, choices are made during the framing and institutionalization of the concept that mobilize, for example, a human-nature dichotomy and the pre-eminence of ecological and economic perspectives. Second, choices are made in the application of the concept, in terms of the type of ‘service’, the scale of analysis, and the kind of market rationality, that create winners and losers. Finally, choices are required when valuing different services – when for instance comparing the ‘apples and oranges’ of different kinds of services provided by different kinds of natural and social processes at different scales. As a result, different interests use this ‘buzzword’ concept to justify different kinds of interventions that at times might be totally opposed. We document examples from the land sparing vs. land sharing debate, from REDD projects conflicting with national carbon policies, and…. In an engaged political ecology, it is possible to harness the notion of ecosystem services in ways that promote social justice and environmental sustainability, but one has to be aware of the assumptions behind the concept.
Monica Castro
Universite de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour
Greening agriculture: farming models in the Green Economy In 2011 Green Economy was announced as one of two main themes of the Rio+20 Conference. In the course of the preparatory process, the title of the theme was rephrased as “the Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication”. The issues of food security and agriculture have thus gained more weight and legitimacy in the negotiation process. As the FAO puts it in its “Greening Economy with Agriculture” initiative, “the food and agriculture sector is critical to greening the economy: there will be no green economy without agriculture”.

In this paper, we propose to look at the role given to agriculture in the Green Economy discourses, and the different models of agriculture promoted by its main institutional actors. Agriculture appears either as a domain for applying the Green Economy, or as a special leverage tool for greening the economy. Through content analysis of the texts produced in preparation of the conference, as well as key texts of institutional actors identified at the RIO+20 Conference, we will analyze in greater depth the role given to farmers, knowledges and technologies, to the production (or consumption) of ecosystem services in the models of agriculture proposed actually. We will also analyze the contradictions between conventional and traditional agricultures; the scales at which the problems of hunger are framed, the metrologies and temporalities used to support the “models” (which can be both examples to follow or the product of a modeling activity). We hope to contribute to the identification of levers for the development of farming options suitable to face the challenge of sustainably feeding the people on Earth.

Connor Joseph Cavanagh
Department of Geography,
York University
Virtual Nature, Violent Accumulation: A Critical Political Ecology of Carbon Market Failure at Mt. Elgon, Uganda In East Africa, financially strained governments increasingly adopt voluntary, market-based carbon offset schemes for bolstering the public management of protected areas. Often, conservationists portray these as ‘triple-win’ solutions for climate change mitigation, biodiversity preservation, and local socioeconomic development. Examining such rhetoric, this paper analyses an integrated carbon offset and conservation initiative at Mount Elgon National Park in eastern Uganda, involving a partnership between the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and a Dutch NGO, the FACE Foundation. In doing so, the paper utilizes a mixed-methods approach, alongside a theoretical perspective rooted in critical political ecology, revealing the ways in which the uncompensated dispossession of thousands of local residents was necessary for the project’s implementation. Indeed, these expropriations constitute one of the largest and bloodiest evictions for environmental protection in Uganda’s post-colonial history, effectively subsidizing the UWA-FACE project’s participation in global ecosystem service markets. Yet, although external auditors expected the project to sequester 3.73 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) between 1994 and 2034, conflicts forced the scheme to cease reforestation in 2003. Noting such contestations, we problematize the ways in which the FACE Foundation and other carbon market intermediaries represented their activities to prospective consumers via websites and social media, obscuring the violence that marked the project’s implementation. In so doing, the paper argues that virtual representations fetishize carbon offsets-as-commodities, and obfuscate the divergent social, ecological, and political relations of production that divide Northern emitters of carbon dioxide from sequestration-proximal communities in the Global South. Such representations assert a false commensurability of tCO2e – one that must be problematized and resisted, as it is increasingly employed to violently acquire territory from rural populations elsewhere in Uganda, as well as in Sub-Saharan Africa more broadly.
Connor Joseph Cavanagh
Department of Geography,
York University
“Much in Blood and Money”: Colonial Conservation, Resistance, and the State on the Margins of the Uganda Protectorate, 1900-1962 In East Africa, contemporary forms of green grabbing both emerge from and synergize with complex histories of colonial conservation and agrarian reforms. Particularly in the Uganda Protectorate, the ‘birth’ of conservation was inextricably tied to the broader imperial project of extending state control over the lands and people of its frontier. By claiming “unused” lands through the doctrine of terra nullius, the institutionalisation of protected areas wrested strategic resources – and by extension, the political power – from local control. Meanwhile, beyond the borders of protected areas, the colonial regime utilized both taxation and an imposed system of non-local chiefs to compel agriculturalists’ participation in the state-controlled market economy. Drawing upon archival and oral history research in Uganda, we thus reconstruct the ways in which conservation at Mount Elgon was intimately connected to the normalisation of the colonial state, the production of nature, and the accumulation of capital. Further, by foregrounding the origins of resistance to these governmental logics, our historiography reveals weaknesses and insecurities in the implementation of colonial environmental governance. Indeed, we argue that this inquiry yields insights into the development of categories, rationales, and vocabularies of governance that continue to inform the basis of exclusion and dispossession at both Mount Elgon and other ‘green enclosures’ in East Africa. As such, our approach conceptualizes ‘new’ green grabs as partially emergent from colonial forms of environmental appropriation, and takes seriously the anthropologist Pierre Clastres’ famous assertion that “the history of peoples without a history is a history of their struggle against the state.”
Catherine Corson
Mount Holyoke College
Grabbing the Green Economy: Disabling Resistance through ‘Participatory’ Process at Rio+20 In the space of three years, the green economy has emerged as the hegemonic discourse in global environmental governance, superseding that of sustainable development. With promises of green growth, environmental technologies, and alternative fuel economies, the green economy introduces new avenues for accumulation and offers a solution to the current economy crisis. Institutions such as the UN Environment Program and the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development or Rio+20 have orchestrated its rise, while civil society groups from the Global South have campaigned against it. Drawing on data from a collaborative ethnographic study of the Rio+20 conference and associated preparatory meetings, I examine the ways that civil society groups challenged the green economy as the central organizing theme for Rio+20, and how the UN ‘participatory’ preparatory process for Rio+20 effectively disabled this resistance.
Iain Davidson-Hunt
Natural Resources Institute, Canada
Functional or territorial planning? Differing approaches and emerging conflicts in northern Ontario, Canada In Canada, the Ontario government passed legislation to set aside half of the “far north” for protection following international conservation organizations aggressive campaigns to achieve this target. While this legislation has some progressive elements such as allowing First Nation communities to take the lead on planning, there is cause for concern in who and how the 50% for protection will be decided. Even more worrisome was the lack of participation of First Nations in the design of this broad scale planning framework which will result in social, economic and cultural impacts. In this presentation, I trace the changes in the scales of environmental governance through an analysis of the influence of two different planning traditions, the ‘functional’ and the ‘territorial’ ones, that have been at play in the far north of Ontario. Based on in-depth fieldwork in the northern community of Pikangikum First Nation, I show how a partnership with the local office of a provincial ministry allowed the community to develop their own planning approach, and paved the way for confronting the emerging large scale comprehensive approach before it was set in legislation, and for including Aboriginal communities in the new planning legislation. I discuss how recognition of different approaches to planning helps to understand emerging conflicts in the boreal, and opens new venues of analysing how communities can confront the impacts of large protected areas, while seeking benefits for their land and people.
Ashley Dawson
English Department,
City University of New York
Amortizing Humanity As “natural” disasters become increasingly prevalent as a result of anthropogenic climate change, critics such as Christian Parenti have begun to talk about the militarized triage of global humanity for which organizations like the U.S. military are preparing. While such extreme scenarios are certainly unfolding in the tropics of chaos described by Parenti, in the global North a more accurate metaphorical register is the amortizing of populations. It is the financial logics of debt and the actual logics of risk, in other words, that dictate how vulnerable populations in the erstwhile social democratic countries of the global North are being subjected to new regimes of environmentality in the unstable conditions unleashed by climate change. In this presentation, I develop an argument around the deployment of actual logics in a context of eco-catastrophe using fieldwork conducted in collaboration with Occupy Sandy in the New York City boroughs of Queens and Staten Island, the sections of the city that were most devastated by Hurricane Sandy. In particular, I look at two distinct sites in which actuarial logics are being deployed: plans to protect portions of the city when the next flood strikes; predatory financial loan practices among vulnerable populations in the wake of the hurricane. In both cases, I argue that logics of combined and uneven destruction are at work, processes that involve the irregular distribution of risk according to calculations that foreclose the future to significant sections of the city’s population.
Elise Demeulenaere
CNRS UMR
Eco-anthropologie & Ethnobiologie
Greening agriculture: farming models in the Green Economy In 2011 Green Economy was announced as one of two main themes of the Rio+20 Conference. In the course of the preparatory process, the title of the theme was rephrased as “the Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication”. The issues of food security and agriculture have thus gained more weight and legitimacy in the negotiation process. As the FAO puts it in its “Greening Economy with Agriculture” initiative, “the food and agriculture sector is critical to greening the economy: there will be no green economy without agriculture”.

In this paper, we propose to look at the role given to agriculture in the Green Economy discourses, and the different models of agriculture promoted by its main institutional actors. Agriculture appears either as a domain for applying the Green Economy, or as a special leverage tool for greening the economy. Through content analysis of the texts produced in preparation of the conference, as well as key texts of institutional actors identified at the RIO+20 Conference, we will analyze in greater depth the role given to farmers, knowledges and technologies, to the production (or consumption) of ecosystem services in the models of agriculture proposed actually. We will also analyze the contradictions between conventional and traditional agricultures; the scales at which the problems of hunger are framed, the metrologies and temporalities used to support the “models” (which can be both examples to follow or the product of a modeling activity). We hope to contribute to the identification of levers for the development of farming options suitable to face the challenge of sustainably feeding the people on Earth.

Danielle DiNovelli-Lang            Department of Sociology and Anthropology,
Carleton University
The Value Hunters This paper examines big game hunting as a special instance of what Neil Smith has aptly named,
“the production of nature.” While Smith contrasts the material production of nature through
the intensification of land-use under capitalism with the ideological, romantic production of
nature as wilderness, the big game hunting industry produces commodified wildness as a lived
experience. Brown bear hunts in Alaska, where the ethnographic research supporting this paper
was done, are intensively produced by a host of laws and regulations demarcating the boundaries
between wilderness and refuge, salvage and waste, opportunity and entrapment; all of which
make it possible for the paid labor of guides and the unpaid labor of others to disappear in the
experience of the hunter. The hunter is not at work; he, almost always, is a vacationing hobbyist
who comes to Alaska to win a trophy from the most authentic arena imaginable: nature. It is
not my aim in this paper to simply dispel the myth of wild, masculine nature that supports the
exploitation of laboring humans and bears in Alaska. Instead I will show how the production
and consumption of bear hunting itself supports the foundational distinction between work and
leisure that animates the political economy of wilderness in the United States.
Bruce Erickson
Department of Geography,
York University
“Maybe Partying Will Help”: The Neoliberal Subject of Recreational Activism Neoliberalism, Henry Giroux argues, functions through the production of certain modes of public pedagogy that maintain the status quo and further neoliberalization as the only options for a healthy society.  These are not, he argues, a form of political education about economic and social policies, but rather broad aims that reinforce tendencies of privatization, commercialization and deregulation in everyday life: media, schooling, and even leisure pursuits.  In this paper I extend Giroux’s argument to understand how civil society is being transformed through the increasing turn to participatory forms of recreation as a political act.  From following caribou migrations in areas at risk of oil exploration to cook-offs against mining projects, individual recreational activities are now easily locked into the public sphere as acts of protest.  While the extent of participation can vary, from extended trips to afternoon walks, at the heart of these activities is a contradictory process: The protest against the encroachment of capital into the natural world carries with it a concomitant valuing of nature through the sphere of recreation.  Extraction-value is challenged only to be replaced by enjoyment-value.

The reasons for this contradiction becomes clear when we look carefully at the frame of recreation and leisure that supports these political activity.  The subject of leisure is a subject of capitalism, and any use of leisure as politics is going to have to critically address this issue or become a feature of the expansion of capitalist networks throughout activism.  Drawing on Michel Foucault’s work on neoliberalism, I argue that recreational activism functions because it comes from the logic of the entrepreneurial self, where competition for resources becomes the driving feature of what is right, as opposed to an interest in justice and equality.  Neoliberal exchange becomes the privileged sphere of action, and the forms of enjoyment offered by such activism paradoxically supports the neoliberalization the activists quite often want to stop.

Nicolle Paulina Etchart
Department of Geography,
The Ohio State University
REDD+, the commodification of carbon sequestration and resistance in Ecuador: quality, quantity and the value form Climate change mitigation policies such as Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes rely on the premise that the natural environment can be protected from further degradation by managing and monetarily valuing ecosystem services as tradable commodities. Market-oriented projects for all kinds of ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration have expanded across the globe, increasingly to areas of the global South. These projects typically remunerate landholders for adjusting their land use practices to promote the conservation of its ecological functions. Ecuador recently became the 13th country to receive funding from the United Nations for the implementation of one such scheme: the climate change mitigation initiative for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+). However, the program is controversial. Many scholars and critics have warned that it may dispossess marginalized rural producers of their resources, forcing them to cede control over land that has traditionally sustained their livelihoods.  Additionally, in Ecuador, REDD+ faces resistance from the country’s indigenous movement, who view it as a challenge to their sovereignty and a threat to impoverished communities. This paper uses the Ecuadorian case to argue that the commodification of carbon sequestration is a contended social process–an arena of struggle–in which indigenous and peasants resist the value form of the capitalist mode of production through a politics of a measure. As carbon sequestration is placed in the service of capital accumulation, social subjects are produced and organized around the creation of value. This paper aims to retake the concept of value form in Marx’s value theory in order to reflect on the conditions of possibility that allow the varied and multiple forms of ecosystem services to appear as exchange value. Moreover, it reframes indigenous and peasant resistance to the commodification of carbon sequestration as a politicization of measure.
Luke W. Fairbanks
Duke University Marine Laboratory,
Duke University
On the blue horizon: tracing the emergence and evolution of blue economy at Rio+20 Using data collected at the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (i.e., Rio+20) via a collaborative event ethnography, this paper traces the discursive emergence of blue economy. Initially utilized amidst the build-up to Rio+20, the term blue economy was widely invoked but variously defined at the summit itself. Thus, in addition to tracing its emergence, we document how various actors and groups employed blue economy, illustrating how it was used to advocate particular visions of human use and interaction with ‘global oceans’. We examine the dominant actors promoting, and the overlaps and divergences between, three prominent visions of the blue economy: (1) a coordinated system of regulatory and market-based mechanisms that incentivize more sustainable behavior in existing marine sectors; (2) the widespread quantification and valuation of ‘nature’s infrastructure’ and marine ecosystem services in national accounts and planning, enabled and encouraged through the coalescence of scientific knowledge, private finance and international actors; and (3) small-scale fishers and small island developing states gaining greater access and/or benefit sharing from fisheries or other marine development activities. At this point the blue economy is far from an agreed-upon institutional framework to structure human-oceans interaction. Yet, its emergence and injection into a variety of Rio+20 fora signals that numerous interests seek to discipline powerful international actors to understand the ecology, economic potential(s), and socio-cultural value(s) of oceans in regional, national and global terms. If this is the case, continuing efforts to define and draw support(ers) to particular visions of the blue economy warrant attention for their discursive evolution and for how they impact oceans conservation and development practice.
Romain Felli Programme for the Sociology of Science,
University of Basel (Switzerland)
Markets against Economic Democracy in Environmental Governance Why are market instruments so widespread in contemporary environmental governance? Critical scholars have underlined the widespread neoliberal practices and thoughts which sustain such a development. This tendency goes beyond neoliberalism and is related to the fundamental contradictions of capitalism, notably between use value and (exchange) value.
In this paper, I want to argue, at the abstract level of value theory, that the development of market mechanisms can be explained by the depoliticising tendency of capitalism, by which the possibility of explicit social planning of the economy (what to produce? Where? How?) is hidden through the apparent “technicality” of markets. By creating the possibility for the extraction of (absolute and differential) rents, most environmental regulations do not “commodify” nature as is often argued, but rather organise the unequal appropriation of environmental goods and benefits thereby reinforcing the separation of the direct producers from the means of production.
In other words, environmental policy could open up the democratic possibility of deciding which use values should be produced and under which conditions (a process of politicisation). By making exchange value prevail through the price mechanisms (including rents), that is by depoliticising the regulation of the production of use values, market instruments in environmental governance seek to ensure that the law of value remains uncontested, and thus that the possibility of explicit social planning remains impossible.
This tendency, however, can be countered by strategic actions aimed at repoliticising environmental governance, in the sense of rendering the (dis)allocation of investment an explicit political choice based on socio-ecological values, rather than abandoning it to market decisions.
Janet Fisher
University of Exeter
What do conservationists really think about markets? The recent history of biodiversity conservation practice has been characterised by the increasing use of Market-Based Instruments. An emerging body of critical social science research seeks to understand this development. This literature tends to characterise conservationists as being ideologically in favour of markets in conservation. An alternative possibility is that conservationists pursue market solutions as a pragmatic response to prevailing political and economic circumstances. In this paper we seek to establish empirically what conservation professionals really think about markets in conservation. We used Q-methodology, a tool for analysing structure and form within respondents’ subjective positions. The results suggest that conservationists are circumspect about the growing use of markets in conservation. We identify two dominant discourses that we label ‘outcome focused enthusiasm’ and ‘ideological scepticism’. Neither of these perspectives indicates strong, or uncritical, support for market approaches, and the views of our respondents appear to recognise the limitations of markets both in theory and practice. While there is some difference in views between the two dominant discourses that we document in this paper, there is considerable convergence towards a position that we label ‘cautious pragmatism’. We conclude that those studying conservation need to be cautious about over-generalising the perspectives and values held by conservation professionals, as there appears to be far less consensus about the adoption of market-led approaches in this sector than has been suggested. Further research could investigate the drivers of pro-market behaviour at the organisational level given the evident personal scepticism of many conservationists.
Robert Fletcher
Department of Environment, Peace, and Security,
University for Peace
The Jouissance of Ecotourism: Fantasy, Desire, and Pseudocatharsis in Neoliberal Environmental Governance Much academic attention has recently highlighted the increasing and contradictory tendency to promote neoliberal market-based mechanisms such as so-called ethical consumption as the solution to environmental problems exacerbated by processes of capitalist accumulation themselves. To date, the majority of this research has employed Marxist or Foucauldian frames, and thus has paid little attention to the embodied psychological processes supporting this paradoxical dynamic. This presentation thus draws on Lacanian psychoanalysis, through the work of Slavoj Žižek, to analyze the role of fantasy and desire in sustaining faith in the potential of market-based environmentalism. In the process, it attempts a synthesis of Marxian, Foucauldian, and Lacanian perspectives, treating the body as a crucial nexus of convergence among these, in pursuit of a comprehensive theoretical framework for understanding how contemporary environmental governance functions. The analysis is illustrated through discussion of how the practice of ecotourism, a quintessential market-based conservation strategy, is sustained through its promise to provide a transcendent experience of nature-culture unity yet instead offers merely a “pseudocatharsis” that paradoxically intensifies the very desire that it promises to satisfy and thereby supports the twin neoliberal fantasies of consumption without negative consequence and accumulation without end in terms of which the body itself becomes a prime site of capitalization.
Robert Fletcher
Department of Environment, Peace, and Security,
University for Peace
Orchestrating Consent:The Intensification of NatureTM Inc at the 2012 World Conservation Congress This presentation reports on the results of a collaborative event ethnography performed at the 2012 World Conservation Congress (WCC) on Jeju Island, South Korea. The WCC is organized every four years by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which bills the congress as the world’s most important conservation forum. Hence, analysis of the event reveals much concerning current and future trends in the global conservation movement. This presentation builds on a previous study conducted at the 2008 WCC in Barcelona, Spain, which provides something of a baseline for assessing changes in conservation policy in the intervening period. I contend that one of the most salient trends at the 2012 WCC was a dramatic increase in emphasis on market-based mechanisms and corporate partnerships, elements of a growing global pattern that has been called “neoliberal conservation” or “NatureTM Inc,” on the part of IUCN leadership and its major sponsors, particularly the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). While this agenda is actively contested by elements of the Union’s membership, little of this contestation was reflected in the congress’s public spaces. I therefore describe the WWC as an effort to orchestrate the appearance of general consent around a neoliberal agenda by means of a variety of strategies, including: performing consensus; synchronizing discourse; expanding alliances; disciplining dissent; and appropriating a “radical” agenda.
Robert Fletcher
Department of Environment, Peace, and Security,
University for Peace
Beyond Tradeoffs: From Growth to Redistribution in Environmental Governance Recently a number of prominent conservationists have pronounced the past twenty years of global efforts to integrate conservation and development an overwhelming failure, identifying tradeoffs between the two priorities that cannot be reconciled. This conclusion, however, fails to problematize the neoliberal governance paradigm commonly underlying such efforts, which seeks to disaggregate and individualize risk by encouraging actors to function as self-interested entrepreneurs responsible for their own welfare and thus, paradoxically, depends on environmentally-destructive economic growth to redress poverty. Hence, I contend, the tradeoff thesis speaks less to the failure of integrated conservation and development efforts per se than of the capitalist market-based strategies pursued to achieve them. After all, despite their general failure to stimulate self-generating enterprises through market integration, conservation projects have often served as a de facto redistribution mechanism, effectively subsidizing both resource preservation and poverty alleviation in communities throughout the world. This reality, I suggest, could be acknowledged and built upon in order to scale up new forms of resource redistribution that re-aggregate risk in support of more effective environmental governance beyond both markets and states. This analysis is illustrated through my ongoing research concerning conservation policy and practice in Costa Rica, where increasing promotion of market engagement belies a continued reliance on implicit mechanisms of resource redistribution.
Paul Foley
Environmental Policy Institute,
Memorial University
Conceptualizing the Power of Big Buyers in the Making of Market-oriented Global Environmental Governance Struggles over environmental sustainability are transforming the identity and long-term strategic vision of multinational corporations. Many of the world’s largest corporations have committed to addressing environmental problems by instituting sustainability goals into corporate strategies and purchasing policies. In February 2010, for example, Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, announced a plan to decrease its global carbon footprint by 150 percent by 2015, 90 percent of which will be achieved by requiring changes in the practices of its more than 100, 000 suppliers. How can we conceptualize these buyer-supplier relations in international trade? And how can we explain and theorize the power of big buyers in global sustainability trends? This paper introduces the concept of disciplinary oligopsony power to explain the special significance of big buyers’ purchasing policies in the spread of an increasingly popular form of market-oriented global environmental governance – environmental certification and labeling systems. Scholars have noted the significance of oligopolistic retailing in the growth of private standards and third-party certification in the governance of agriculture and food but, this paper submits, the type of buyer power which explains the extension of market-oriented certifications across supply chains is more accurately understood as oligopsonistic power. Although relations of power and agency within different buyer-supplier chains are complex, multi-directional, and shaped by ‘endogenous’ and ‘exogenous’ factors, the purchasing policies of a relatively small number of companies that mediate market access between producers and hundreds of millions of end-consumers have been the most powerful driver in the uptake of most prominent certification and labeling systems. Drawing on literatures from a variety of disciplines and research in the global fisheries sector, the paper illustrates how a particular type of business to business relationship, far more than consumer to business relations, has fundamentally defined the early trajectory of transnational environmental certification and labeling systems.
Jean Foyer
Institut des Sciences de la Communication du CNRS
from bioprospecting to market-based instruments: conservation in an economy of promises This paper aims to show that what was at stake at Rio+20 regarding market-based instruments for conservation (PES, REDD+, compensation…) was very similar to what happened 20 years ago regarding bio-prospection at Rio 92. Indeed, market-based instruments renew the promise that market mechanisms are the most effective means to achieve conservation. Yet, by extending the Polanyian perspective regarding the fictitious nature of commodities and the idea of the « economy of promises » (developed by Pierre-Benoît Joly as regards hi-tech markets such as biotech and nanotech), we want to show that, over and above their ideological origins, these market mechanisms suppose very complex institutional arrangements and are therefore very ineffective in relation to their stated environmental goals. These various market-based instruments are grounded in a economy of continual promises (namely the synergy between market and conservation) much more than in concrete market mechanisms. More than simply a conservation market, they contribute to the reproduction and rise of a labor market of economic conservation experts.
Deborah Rigling Gallagher
Duke Environmental Leadership Program,
Duke University
The Role of the UN Global Compact in Promoting Private Sector Perspectives into the Sustainable Development Discourse The 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development declared, “the right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations”, but did not lay out a specific role for private sector organizations to play. Recognizing this oversight, in 1999 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called on private sector organizations, “individually through your firms, and collectively through your business associations — to embrace, support and enact a set of core values in the areas of human rights, labour standards, and environmental practices.” This plea ultimately resulted in the creation of the United Nations Global Compact, a network of business leaders, non-governmental organizations and labor organizations ostensibly focused on promoting the UNGC’s mission to spur sustainable development, educating each other about best practices and on partnering to benefit the greater good. In 2012 UNGC members and observers convened a well-attended side event to the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the Rio + 20 Corporate Sustainability Forum.  This paper examines the performances at this side event to consider UNGC’s role in promoting a private sector market-based perspective on sustainable development. It specifically examines the role that two UNGC environmental learning network initiatives, Caring for Climate and the CEO Water Mandate, have played in this endeavor.
Patrick Gallagher   Stanford University Ecosystem Services in a Landscape of Social Difference This paper considers how the ecosystem service model of functional ecological flows towards socio-economic ends comes to protect and sustain a social and biological landscape that has been produced through a deeply problematic colonial past. Through an analysis of the way that the language of natural capital and ecological value came to be employed in the everyday political discourse of one coastal community, I explore how the idea of natural capital can (to the great surprise of its proponents) be employed to reinforce geographically explicit hierarchies of difference in post-colonial landscapes such as Belize.
Jesse Goldstein
CUNY Graduate Center (sociology)
Biomimicry: new natures for and against capital Biomimicry champion Janine Benyus envisions a new industrial paradigm, one that leaves behind the crude violence of Francis Bacon and the domination of nature. Instead, she argues, biomimicry treats nature as collaborators, members of a universal “parliament of species.” Meanwhile, many biomimetic success stories circle around military funded defense projects, carefully guarded intellectual property, and visions of large commercial profits. So does anything really change in and through this “biomimicry revolution”?

By contrasting the new enclosures of and surrounding biomimicry with virulent forms of ongoing primitive accumulation – such as the massive agricultural and extractive land grabs that are currently taking place, we clarify what is new about these new enclosures, and the new natures that they produce. We focus upon two fundamental shifts: (1) The production of nature as an active subject (as opposed to a passive receptacle or vehicle); (2) The production of nature as intellectual property (as opposed to raw materials).

At face value, such new approaches to valuing nature may seem less violent and exploitative. Yet we must beware: new natures can and are tortured in new ways.  Nonetheless, biomimicry cannot be reduced to the role it plays in furthering capital accumulation and militarized domination. In fact, biomimicry’s posthumanist approach to nature and technology may offer conceptual and even technical grounding as we struggle for a truly liberatory, ecological-social-political metabolism with, through, and as nature.

Noella J. Gray
Department of Geography,
University of Guelph
On the blue horizon: tracing the emergence and evolution of blue economy at Rio+20 Using data collected at the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (i.e., Rio+20) via a collaborative event ethnography, this paper traces the discursive emergence of blue economy. Initially utilized amidst the build-up to Rio+20, the term blue economy was widely invoked but variously defined at the summit itself. Thus, in addition to tracing its emergence, we document how various actors and groups employed blue economy, illustrating how it was used to advocate particular visions of human use and interaction with ‘global oceans’. We examine the dominant actors promoting, and the overlaps and divergences between, three prominent visions of the blue economy: (1) a coordinated system of regulatory and market-based mechanisms that incentivize more sustainable behavior in existing marine sectors; (2) the widespread quantification and valuation of ‘nature’s infrastructure’ and marine ecosystem services in national accounts and planning, enabled and encouraged through the coalescence of scientific knowledge, private finance and international actors; and (3) small-scale fishers and small island developing states gaining greater access and/or benefit sharing from fisheries or other marine development activities. At this point the blue economy is far from an agreed-upon institutional framework to structure human-oceans interaction. Yet, its emergence and injection into a variety of Rio+20 fora signals that numerous interests seek to discipline powerful international actors to understand the ecology, economic potential(s), and socio-cultural value(s) of oceans in regional, national and global terms. If this is the case, continuing efforts to define and draw support(ers) to particular visions of the blue economy warrant attention for their discursive evolution and for how they impact oceans conservation and development practice.
Kevin Grove
Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences,
Aberystwyth University
The Neutral State: A Genealogy of Ecosystem Services This paper considers the nation-state of Costa Rica’s current efforts to become “carbon neutral” and the role of ecosystem service payments in this process. In this paper, we trace how the connection between the country’s forests and a territorial space of carbon neutrality was able to emerge as rationality of governance. Specifically, this paper considers the turbulent period during the 1980s, when the Costa Rican state was: a) struggling to maintain a stance of geopolitical neutrality in the face on the US backed Contra war; b) managing an economic debt crisis; and c) trying to reverse some of the highest deforestation rates in the world. In short, the Costa Rican state was managing severe geopolitical, economic, and ecological crises. The confluence of these events enabled state agents to develop diverse and new ways to account for the country’s resources. Due to the outsize influence of the United States during this time, the state began to measure and track its forest loss while also positioning its existing forests into an equivalence relation with global financial markets through its pioneering debt for nature swaps. These initially unconnected practices of adequation and accounting ultimately coalesced in ways that extended the state’s rationality towards its resources in new ways. It moved from tracking resources across a Cartesian space to a problematic of calculation that came to include the atmosphere itself. This move from a two-dimensional to a three-dimensional rationality of governance allowed for the state to territorialize carbon as simultaneously both an object of governance and a component of its economy. Paradoxically, these sweeping rationalities are underpinned by locally precise forms of measuring and calculating specific parts of nature.
Rebecca L. Gruby
Duke University Marine Laboratory,
Duke University
On the blue horizon: tracing the emergence and evolution of blue economy at Rio+20 Using data collected at the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (i.e., Rio+20) via a collaborative event ethnography, this paper traces the discursive emergence of blue economy. Initially utilized amidst the build-up to Rio+20, the term blue economy was widely invoked but variously defined at the summit itself. Thus, in addition to tracing its emergence, we document how various actors and groups employed blue economy, illustrating how it was used to advocate particular visions of human use and interaction with ‘global oceans’. We examine the dominant actors promoting, and the overlaps and divergences between, three prominent visions of the blue economy: (1) a coordinated system of regulatory and market-based mechanisms that incentivize more sustainable behavior in existing marine sectors; (2) the widespread quantification and valuation of ‘nature’s infrastructure’ and marine ecosystem services in national accounts and planning, enabled and encouraged through the coalescence of scientific knowledge, private finance and international actors; and (3) small-scale fishers and small island developing states gaining greater access and/or benefit sharing from fisheries or other marine development activities. At this point the blue economy is far from an agreed-upon institutional framework to structure human-oceans interaction. Yet, its emergence and injection into a variety of Rio+20 fora signals that numerous interests seek to discipline powerful international actors to understand the ecology, economic potential(s), and socio-cultural value(s) of oceans in regional, national and global terms. If this is the case, continuing efforts to define and draw support(ers) to particular visions of the blue economy warrant attention for their discursive evolution and for how they impact oceans conservation and development practice.
Shubhra Gururani Department of Anthropology,
York University
Boundary Work: Scripting Land and Property Sites that are sedimented in ambiguous and contested language of customary claims, commons, or communal use, represent, what Carol Rose has argued, spaces of “violence and danger” or even anti-property. The ambiguous prose of property associated with such spaces always poses a challenge, which is much more amplified in the neoliberal moment in which private property stands as the foundation for individual self-interest and optimal social good. Thus protection of private property and extension of private property to public domains becomes a central policy and policing mandate in neoliberal urbanism, environmentalism, and urban gentrification. Focusing on different social geographies of land and nature, the four papers in the panel explore the critical question of how land is accessed, claimed, acquired, and enclosed through the lens of property and property-making. Taking case studies from urban, suburban, and pastoral landscapes in the Global North and South, the panel engages with thematic of the conference and through the analytics of property explores the multiple articulations and intersections that configure and reconfigure the human-nonhuman relations at different scales and sites that may help us further our understanding of the changing contours of power, politics, and practice at this particular moment of global capitalism.
Ryan Hackett
Department of Geography,
York University
What is new about neoliberal conservation?Exploring the continuities between terrestrial conservation offsets and historical conservation practice in Alberta, Canada The last several decades have witnessed explosive growth in the popularity of market mechanisms as a tool for conservation practice. Payment for ecosystem services, biodiversity offsets, and tradable quotas have increasingly been implemented across the globe. A well-developed literature now documents some of the overarching logics of these ‘neoliberal’ approaches to conservation. While recognizing that conservation and capitalism have a long history of collaboration, much of this recent scholarship has focused on the differences between emergent market mechanisms and earlier forms of state-led, or command and control conservation. Relatively less attention has been paid, however, to the discursive and material continuities between these new market approaches and earlier forms of conservation practice.

Drawing from recent empirical research on attempts to establish markets in terrestrial conservation offsets in Alberta, Canada, this paper explores the continuities between emerging market approaches and state-led conservation. Using a situated historical account of conservation in Alberta, the paper explores the complimentary history of conservation and economic development, the unvaried metrics employed in identifying and defining conservation areas, and similarities in institutional arrangements —including the continuing centrality of state intervention—which suggest that there is much in common between current attempts at the establishment of markets in terrestrial conservation offsets and earlier forms of conservation practice in the province. Although shifts to market approaches do differ in some consequential ways, both the underpinning logics and material implications of these differential forms of conservation practice share much in common. While important work has been done to outline what is different about neoliberal forms of conservation, a focus that largely bypasses discussion of continuities remains partial. Recognition and theorization of the commonalities between newly developing conservation markets and earlier forms of conservation practice is an important, albeit less often discussed, component of understanding these phenomena.

Derek Andrew Hall
Department of Political Science,
Wilfrid Laurier University
Certifying the Future: How Credit Rating Agencies and the Marine Stewardship Council Evaluate Risk and Sustainability Third-party certification systems are meant to provide neutral, objective information about products to participants in markets. These systems are meant to assure consumers, for instance, that their apples are really organic or that their coffee has been fairly traded. These assurances are critical to expanding the markets for these products. In this paper, I ask how certification schemes are able to make compelling and “objective” claims about events that have not yet occurred – that is, how they certify the future. I take up the examples of credit rating agencies (which make statements about the likelihood that holders of a particular security will be repaid) and the Marine Stewardship Council (which tells consumers that certified fisheries are “sustainable”). I analyze the work that must be done to make inherently uncertain claims about the future “objective” by examining what kinds of claims are made, the ways the two systems deal with uncertainty, and the practices that allow credit rating agencies and the MSC to convert information about the past into statements about the future. I also take up the examples of the 2008 global financial crisis (during which the credibility of credit rating agency claims was dramatically challenged) and disputes over rapid declines in MSC-certified fisheries to ask what the consequences are when these certifications of the future are proven wrong.
Rebecca Hasdell
Dalla Lana School of Public Health,
University of Toronto
Democratizing Power: Environmental Justice in Toronto In the twenty-first century, urban centres such as Toronto, have become a focal point for concerns about the energy conservation and renewable energy, even as urban development and consumption continue to produce high levels of waste and pollution. Policies such as Ontario’s Green Energy and Economy Act (GEEA) seek to ‘green’ methods of production and consumption, and have been offered as a potential solution to energy and environmental challenges. Employing an environmental justice lens, we analyze the GEEA , first, to critique the neo-liberal and green capitalist ideologies embedded in the policy, and second, to examine the interests of actors in the emerging Ontario community power sector. Access to the power grid for more diverse players is identified as a potential site for the democratization of participation in keeping with the goals of environmental justice. Drawing on in-depth interviews with ENGO leaders, the paper considers the success and challenges that community power groups encounter in accessing the power grid, and examines the case of a successful community power initiative.
Elizabeth Havice
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Grabbing Sustainability Territory: Making Global Aquaculture Standards with Multi-Stakeholder Participation Since the 1990s, multi-stakeholder processes have emerged as a common model for standard setting in certification and regulation, including in environmental spheres. The rationale for encouraging multi-stakeholder participation is that an inclusive rule-making process will increase transparency and ‘legitimacy’, improves information flow and generate buy-in from industry actors that will have to abide by the terms of the standard. In theory, these participatory processes yield ‘better’ standards that are more likely to be widely adopted than those produced through traditional command and control style rule making. In policy-making circles and in academic research, ‘participation’ of this type is generally seen as an instrumental issue, rather than a political one. In this paper, we complicate the notion of participation by tracing the logic and the practice of participatory rule-making process in one of the WWF-led aquaculture dialogs, a series of species-specific processes that are defining sustainable aquaculture production practices and awarding them with an eco-label. We argue that rather than being a fixed category or a structure, participation is a dynamic process through which those participants able to make their voices heard actively define their identity, contribute and create particular kinds of knowledge, and represent their constituencies and worldviews in a high-stakes race to define ‘sustainable’ in one of the world’s fastest growing food sectors. We explore how participation is configured through pre-existing and continuously evolving organizational, economic and political processes and power asymmetries associated with intersecting structures of the rule-making process and the industry in question.
Elizabeth Havice
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Modern landed property and industrial fisheries The main objective of this paper is to explore the multiple forms of ‘tenure’ that exist in fisheries systems and how they are politically constituted and situated at multiple scales vis-à-vis resource conservation and food production debates.  We engage critically with mainstream accounts of the ownership and distribution of fishing rights and their links to and fissures from ‘the right to fish’ and ‘the right to food’. We develop an original critical synthesis of existing work on fisheries and social-property relations at three scales:

1) International institutions and the ‘scramble for fish’. This section will document and analyze World Bank policy prescriptions on tenure and put this framing in discussion with the United Nation’s dialog on ‘ocean grabbing’ as a threat to the right to food globally.

2) National government regulation of fisheries resources. This section will critically assess the state’s role as modern landed property vis-à-vis the definition and allocation of fisheries rights, and the state’s mediation of relations between ‘local’ and ‘foreign’ fishing interests.

3) Artisanal and small-scale systems of tenure based on community and customary rights. This section will address questions of social and political hierarchy and the role of local-level governance structures in determining and regulating fisheries social-property relations and production dynamics.

Our analysis turns on two arguments. First, that fisheries tenure is not a technical fix to economic and ecological problems, but must be understood politically and in the context of diverse and uneven geographies of capitalist accumulation. Second, to enhance the political effectiveness of struggles around the right to fish and associated discourses of food sovereignty, requires that fishers’ movements engage squarely with the power and political dynamics at the multi-scalar sites in which tenure politics are mediated.

David Himmelfarb
Department of Anthropology,
University of Georgia
“Much in Blood and Money”: Colonial Conservation, Resistance, and the State on the Margins of the Uganda Protectorate, 1900-1962 In East Africa, contemporary forms of green grabbing both emerge from and synergize with complex histories of colonial conservation and agrarian reforms. Particularly in the Uganda Protectorate, the ‘birth’ of conservation was inextricably tied to the broader imperial project of extending state control over the lands and people of its frontier. By claiming “unused” lands through the doctrine of terra nullius, the institutionalisation of protected areas wrested strategic resources – and by extension, the political power – from local control. Meanwhile, beyond the borders of protected areas, the colonial regime utilized both taxation and an imposed system of non-local chiefs to compel agriculturalists’ participation in the state-controlled market economy. Drawing upon archival and oral history research in Uganda, we thus reconstruct the ways in which conservation at Mount Elgon was intimately connected to the normalisation of the colonial state, the production of nature, and the accumulation of capital. Further, by foregrounding the origins of resistance to these governmental logics, our historiography reveals weaknesses and insecurities in the implementation of colonial environmental governance. Indeed, we argue that this inquiry yields insights into the development of categories, rationales, and vocabularies of governance that continue to inform the basis of exclusion and dispossession at both Mount Elgon and other ‘green enclosures’ in East Africa. As such, our approach conceptualizes ‘new’ green grabs as partially emergent from colonial forms of environmental appropriation, and takes seriously the anthropologist Pierre Clastres’ famous assertion that “the history of peoples without a history is a history of their struggle against the state.”
Rocio Hiraldo
School of International Development,
University of East Anglia
Reproducing weak representation: the co-production of green economies in rural Senegal Carbon markets are expanding through the implementation of reforestation campaigns implemented by members of rural communities in low-income countries. While some scholars promote these interventions as locally beneficial, others are questioning such promises. This paper analyses how a mangrove reforestation carbon offsetting project implemented in the Sine-Saloum delta region of Senegal has shaped democracy at the local level. Institutional agents’ decisions are fundamental to understand the democracy effects of these interventions. Before and after the intervention institutional agents working on conservation (with support of state actors) maintain their ability to extract profit from mangrove conservation by perpetuating a division of labor around such production, thus: a) preventing most villagers from having voice and control over decisions that affect their lives; b) recognizing them only instrumentally (as labor-power); c) transferring economic and decision-making powers to local partners who act in similar ways with and d) reinforcing their power through inter-institutional coalitions. By doing so, they erode democracy while gaining economic and political power in conservation. Villagers’ struggles to democratize mangrove conservation challenge this division of labor but only partially as high-level institutions resist a total control by villagers over decisions about conservation, inter alia, their control of the means of production in conservation. Struggles for and against democracy can help map the expansion of capitalism through environmental conservation.
Matt Huber
Department of Geography,
Syracuse University
A Tax on your Whole Life: The Ecological Deflator and the Dream of a Green Market Over the last two decades (at least), cultural and political forces have coalesced to promote a vision of a “green market” wherein the profit motive and the price mechanism combine to produce efficient and environmentally sustainable outcomes.  One reason that this “free market” vision has proven so hegemonic, is a wider popular refusal (especially in, but not limited to, the United States) to accept any form of state promotion of a green economy. This popular refusal is rooted in a sentiment that “green” government policies will inevitably create higher consumer prices for energy, food, and, indeed, all commodities needed for the reproduction of life. Alas, only the market can produce competitive and affordable environmental outcomes. Rather than see this as a typical example of American profligacy, I argue that this popular disdain for state-led environmental policy is rooted in the last three decades of income stagnation and economic insecurity under neoliberal capitalism. Specifically, in the 1980s and 1990s low energy and food prices — an “ecological deflator” — created a slight reprieve from the full scale capital offensive on wages, unions, and working class standard of living. In this context, any policy constructed as creating higher prices for energy and food is seen as just another unacceptable attack on the eroding condition of life. More specifically, environmental policies themselves were often discussed in neoliberal terms of universally hated taxes (even if they weren’t, e.g., “cap and tax”). The equation of state-led environmental policies with “taxes” allows for continued paralysis in the face of climate change and spectacular environmental disasters, and, in turn, creates the “green market” as the only possible imagined pathway to a sustainable future.
Mark Hudson
Department of Sociology,
University of Manitoba
Shopping Police: Contradictions of ‘Ethical Consumption’ in the Green Economy Attempts to differentiate commodities according to the manner of their production are a significant aspect of the “green economy,” as entrepreneurs (“green” and otherwise) attempt to capture the premiums on offer from ethical consumers. As these efforts proliferate, shoppers are increasingly expected to engage in a new form of work: gathering and acting on a complex and growing stream of information in order to entice corporate actors into cleaner and greener processes of production. In the context of neoliberalism, the rise of ethical consumption is fraught with contradictions. Drawing on research into certification and labelling schemes as part of “green” economic development, this paper focuses on two of these: the insertion of “heavy” responsibility and politics into a realm of consumption previously constructed as free and leisure-oriented; and a (very) partial democratization of production processes occurring simultaneously with the individualization of politics.
Kathryn Elizabeth Humphries
University of Cambridge
Emerging Forms of Environmental Governance around Community Based Natural Resource Management in Tanzania: Land Grabbing and Politics of Scales Tanzania has, since 1998, implemented devolved natural resource management in the wildlife sector through the gazettement of Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). These are located on village land and managed by local representatives elected to an Authorised Association. WMAs have implemented a market-based approach to Community-Based Natural Resource Management, focused principally on tourist hunting and photographic tourism. Existing research has considered the political nature of this devolution, the land grabbing and recentralisation it has subsequently involved, and the forms of dispossession it entails for local people. In this paper I build on this work by considering the ‘politics of scales’ taking place within this changing context of natural resource management between the local, NGO and ministerial levels. I discuss the recent creation of a National Consortium for Authorised Associations as an example of local level response to both land grabbing and recentralisation by the state, and of Smith’s (1993; 2004) concept of ‘scale bending’ as local actors and groups attempt to position themselves to access scales of income generation and decision-making. I also examine the scale bending being enacted by one international conservation NGO as it positions itself within the scalar topography of power surrounding WMAs. I focus on the emerging forms of environmental governance within WMAs witnessed through these processes, and this paper indicates the continual struggles taking place within well-established market-based approaches to Community Based Natural Resource Management as different sets of actors attempt to shape the systems of governance that surround such natural resources
Jim Igoe
Department of Anthropology,
Dartmouth College
Positive Dialectic of a Transnational Scholarly Network: Where to Next? Over the first decade of the new millenium critical scholars have grown increasingly restless over limitations for engagement with the global problems our that scholarship concerns, as well as with venues for theorizing those problems. At the same time many of us have taken seriously repeated calls, often from those we criticize, to move beyond critique to more positive kinds of engagement. During the latter part of this period, those of us concerned about the ill environmental effects of global Neoliberalism have undertaken a remarkable series of events, which have become sites for the formation of new kinds of community, sensibility, and vision. Pace Foucault’s late work on ethics and subjectivity, these formations  depend on redirecting our own  capacities to become living alternatives to the dynamics and relationships we have so vigorously critiqued. Pace Susan Ruddick’s  “Towards a Dialectic of the Positive,” they portend a move from potesta (the power to separate something from the power to act in its own self-interest) to potentia (the impulse to create one’s own power to act). In a positive dialectic, Ruddick argues, such a move emerges from shared joy and mutual appreciation. Certainly there is plenty of both of these in our ongoing collaborations. The question is to what extent they can or should be channelled to new kinds of shared understanding and action. I will draw from these perspectives to to talk about these possibilities, what we have done and what we may yet do.
Alastair Iles
UC Berkeley
Grabbing Sustainability Territory: Making Global Aquaculture Standards with Multi-Stakeholder Participation Since the 1990s, multi-stakeholder processes have emerged as a common model for standard setting in certification and regulation, including in environmental spheres. The rationale for encouraging multi-stakeholder participation is that an inclusive rule-making process will increase transparency and ‘legitimacy’, improves information flow and generate buy-in from industry actors that will have to abide by the terms of the standard. In theory, these participatory processes yield ‘better’ standards that are more likely to be widely adopted than those produced through traditional command and control style rule making. In policy-making circles and in academic research, ‘participation’ of this type is generally seen as an instrumental issue, rather than a political one. In this paper, we complicate the notion of participation by tracing the logic and the practice of participatory rule-making process in one of the WWF-led aquaculture dialogs, a series of species-specific processes that are defining sustainable aquaculture production practices and awarding them with an eco-label. We argue that rather than being a fixed category or a structure, participation is a dynamic process through which those participants able to make their voices heard actively define their identity, contribute and create particular kinds of knowledge, and represent their constituencies and worldviews in a high-stakes race to define ‘sustainable’ in one of the world’s fastest growing food sectors. We explore how participation is configured through pre-existing and continuously evolving organizational, economic and political processes and power asymmetries associated with intersecting structures of the rule-making process and the industry in question.
Elizabeth Johnson
Department of Geography and Center for the Humanities,
University of Wisconsin Madison
Biomimicry: new natures for and against capital Biomimicry champion Janine Benyus envisions a new industrial paradigm, one that leaves behind the crude violence of Francis Bacon and the domination of nature. Instead, she argues, biomimicry treats nature as collaborators, members of a universal “parliament of species.” Meanwhile, many biomimetic success stories circle around military funded defense projects, carefully guarded intellectual property, and visions of large commercial profits. So does anything really change in and through this “biomimicry revolution”?

By contrasting the new enclosures of and surrounding biomimicry with virulent forms of ongoing primitive accumulation – such as the massive agricultural and extractive land grabs that are currently taking place, we clarify what is new about these new enclosures, and the new natures that they produce. We focus upon two fundamental shifts: (1) The production of nature as an active subject (as opposed to a passive receptacle or vehicle); (2) The production of nature as intellectual property (as opposed to raw materials).

At face value, such new approaches to valuing nature may seem less violent and exploitative. Yet we must beware: new natures can and are tortured in new ways.  Nonetheless, biomimicry cannot be reduced to the role it plays in furthering capital accumulation and militarized domination. In fact, biomimicry’s posthumanist approach to nature and technology may offer conceptual and even technical grounding as we struggle for a truly liberatory, ecological-social-political metabolism with, through, and as nature.

Adrienne Johnson
Graduate School of Geography,
Clark University
Green Governance or Green Grab? The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and its governing processes in Ecuador This paper analyzes a new collaborative ‘green’ governance arrangement known as
the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in Ecuador and how this space can be a
new site of institutionalizing environmental policies that sanction cases of land
dispossession and facilitate incentives for new forms of land enclosures. In Ecuador, the
RSPO has emerged as a collaborative governance institution that aims to negotiate the
adverse social and environmental effects that can accompany legal and illegal land
acquisitions for palm cultivation. The initiative involves major palm oil companies and
buyers, the World Wildlife Foundation and smaller domestic nongovernmental
organizations and calls for actors to prioritize environmental and social ‘sustainability’ as
non-negotiable conditions for palm oil development across the region. However,
increasing evidence suggests that instead of ameliorating inequalities in the palm oil
industry, the RSPO is a market-based mechanism that merely ‘greens’ an already ‘shady’
business. Furthermore, many point to RSPO meetings as establishing a terrain for ‘green
grabbing’. This paper engages with Michel Foucault’s notion of governmentality to argue
that certain disciplining processes of the RSPO such as land-titling schemes,
exclusionary participation, and capitalist meeting culture can further exacerbate social
and environmental conflicts by structuring collaborate debate while establishing
qualifying criteria that encloses upon certain opportunities for the future. This paper
relies on discourse analysis, participant observation during RSPO meetings, and fieldsite
visits to analyze the extent to which this ‘power-sharing’ institution is an ‘alternative’
mechanism in palm oil governance or rather, a vehicle for circulating capitalist
perspectives that increasingly structure policy and ultimately encourage and legitimize
the material practice of land acquisitions in Ecuador.
EuyRyung Jun
Yonsei University
“Green Growth” and the Ethical Consumer Citizenship in South Korea This paper intervenes in the politics of environmental governance that is being unfolded in South Korea with the launch of Green Growth (GG), an “environment friendly growth paradigm,” that seeks a “balance between economy and ecology”. First, it discusses the ways in which GG emerged as a new strategy of growth that seeks to respond to the global crisis of climate change and energy and to the greening of global political economy. Second, it shows how the Green Start movement, the government led program that mobilizes citizens’ participation in the cause of Green Growth, approaches civic participation from the perspective of economic and developmental framework. Third, it discusses how the notion of citizens’ environmental participation that is being generated in the Green Start movement actively relies on the concept of ethical and responsible consumption. I pay special attention to the ways in which ethical consumption via green lifestyles increasingly constitutes the neoliberal developmental strategies of the South Korean state.
Kelly Kay
Graduate School of Geography,
Clark University
Biodiversity Conservation as Westernization: Natura 2000 and Croatia’s Bid for EU Membership As a requirement for EU accession in 2013, Croatia is in the process of quantifying and mapping their national territory to determine their contribution to the Natura 2000 Network. Natura 2000, the territorial manifestation of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives and the centerpiece of European biodiversity policy, is the largest network of protected areas in the world. Each country’s inclusion requirements are determined by the total of priority ‘biogeographic regions’, an EU constructed ecological typology, within a country’s borders.

A recent trend among new member states post-2004, located primarily in Central and Eastern Europe, is their high percentages of priority ‘biogeographic’ types, and as a result, high quotas for land to be included in Natura 2000. As of recent estimates, Croatia will be contributing 38% of its coastal waters and nearly half of its landmass. Based on fieldwork conducted in Zagreb during 2012, I argue that the European Union and World Bank use Natura 2000 as a tool for ‘Europeanizing’ (Schimmelfenning and Sedelmeier 2005) the territory and people of Croatia through the ‘eco-state restructuring’ (While et al. 2009, Jonas et al. 2010) that is required to meet EU environmental regulations, in particular the stringent regulations around Natura 2000 designation. Using mechanisms like the Water Framework Directive, ecosystem service valuation, and agri-environment measures, biodiversity and environmental protection become a means of justifying significant territorial and economic intervention. As a result, Croatian land is made fungible to other European territory and can be managed for the broader European conservation priorities of sustainable development and climate change mitigation.

Emilia A Kennedy
Department of Geography,
University of British Columbia
‘Do economists make (carbon) markets’? Yes; and so do climatologists, engineers, and bureaucrats! In a recent review paper, Gavin Bridge (2011) calls upon scholars to examine ‘old’ extractive, and ‘new’ carbon economies together as one ‘actually existing’ carbon commodity chain. Doing so, Bridge suggests, enables a consideration of the making of carbon resources economies, and the commonalities and connections between them. In this paper, we take up Bridge’s suggestion, comparing and analyzing two different new/old carbon economies, focusing on the actors, actants, and actions required to make and maintain these economies. First, we examine the carbon sequestration and offsetting economy in Alberta, Canada. Second, we consider the economy of climate change adaptation projects in the South Pacific. A comparison of these distinct carbon economies enables us to move beyond the more common examples of carbon offsets, trades, and taxes to consider the much broader collective of actors, institutions and relationships required to make carbon economies. Without consideration of these, we argue, analyses of carbon economies risk re-introducing the assumption that carbon economies and market instruments are distinguishable and separate from non-market rules, regulations and relationships. Such a comparison allows us to think through the worth and analytical precision of the concept ‘carbon economies’, and whether all such economies are created equally. Finally, this comparison allows us to consider where the limits to such economies may lie.
Sarah Knuth
Department of Geography,
UC-Berkeley
Instrumentalizing Grabs: Finance and US Real Estate in the Green Economy Current scholarship on “green grabs” is predominantly focused on processes of rural land enclosure in the global south. Yet in-progress property transformations associated with the emerging green economy also encompass urban property displacements associated with green gentrification and cleantech cluster development in the global north. This dimension of green grabbing is understudied, as are the ways in which these diverse land transformations constitute an interconnected frontier of capital accumulation: as different arms of financiers’ transnational climate change investment strategies, as a field for the development and dissemination of new financial instruments, as a driver of state restructuring and global policy mobility. Responding to this gap, the research presented here examines post-subprime crisis investment in greening/making energy-efficient U.S. urban real estate and how finance sector market-making efforts are helping reframe this sector as a key arena of green economic development strategy.

Investigating global north real estate investment frontiers in this way sheds light on in-development value logics and financial instruments that are facilitating land transformations. Key strategies for accumulation rest on the new value meant to be created by market environmental regulation, its commodification of ecosystem services (e.g., Gomez-Baggethun et al, 2010; Fairhead et al., 2012), and its capitalization in ground rents and real estate prices. Emerging instruments to price, certify, and securitize this green value include new real estate/land classification and certification schemes, value appraisal techniques, property investment vehicles (e.g., new classes of REITs), and carbon markets, among other financial instruments and infrastructure. In the US context, they include public-private financial instruments (e.g., US municipalities and PACE loans), green value appraisal techniques and mandates, and urban redevelopment programs. They also include partnerships with private finance in areas such as changing tax codes and passing enabling legislation (e.g., to expand the permissible scope and geography of REITs).

Heru Komarudin
Center for international Forestry Research (CIFOR)
What shade of green? Indonesian policy for acceleration and expansion of economic development We examine the dynamics of greening the economic development policy in Indonesia where large scale program for accelerated economic development zones intersects with the national plan to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation. In 2011, the Government of Indonesia launched the Master Plan for Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia Economic Development 2011-2025, labeled MP3EI, which at the cost of US $400 billion aims to propel Indonesia into the ten biggest economies by 2025. However, ambitious infrastructure targets and continued focus on natural resources have become a cause for concern, resulting in the pressure from NGOs and donors to adjust MP3EI so it is compatible with the national plan to reduce green house gas emissions in Indonesia by 26% in 2020. As a result, the official discourse has shifted and MP3EI is increasingly described as green.

We examine the institutional dynamics which have led to the greening of this development policy. We further explore the green character of MP3EI by assessing: 1) compatibility of economic growth objectives with Green House Gas emission reduction targets and 2) composition of investing companies and their commitment to environmental safeguards. We find the greening of development in East Kalimantan is a well-intentioned response by government institutions and private sector actors to pressing environmental concerns but it still has significant shortcomings. The development of East Kalimantan food estate and highway construction may lead to heightened Green House Gas emissions. Few of the oil palm plantation companies involved are part of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. Similarly, a limited number of the forestry projects have sustainability certification. While moving in the right direction, the acceleration and expansion of Indonesian economic development is yet to become a green economy.

Eszter Kovacs
Department of Geography,
University of Cambridge
Greening with neoliberal logic: agri-environment payments on European farmland This paper explores the unravelling of neoliberal environmental governance, focusing  on the implementation of direct agri-environment payments on European farmland.  The greening of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) involves contradictory logics,  combining EU protectionism with neoliberal governance approaches that incentivise  responsibilised farmers to deliver ‘environmental services’. Policy review and  ethnographic scrutiny in Hungary demonstrates that the environmental objectives of  agri-environment schemes are not realised, and such objectives are replaced and  subverted by an unforeseen over-emphasis of logics arising from auditing and  inspection processes conducted by the state. Mapping of farmland by private and state  agencies and extensive paper trails serve several purposes, including the maintenance  of long-term records of farmers, increasing their legibility as well as that of rural areas  (cf. Scott 1998), and heightening government control and insight into farmer decisionmaking. State surveillance and authority are thus being reworked through the use of  modern technology and cartography to exert great pressures on rural farmers,  contributing to historical continuities of post-socialist mistrust and apathy towards the  state. In Hungary, neoliberal environmental configurations and discourses are being  successfully crafted for achieving an all-encompassing and seeing state.
Christian Kull
Monash University
The political ecology of ecosystem services The dominance of “ecosystem services” as a guiding concept for environmental management hides the fact that there are choices implicit in its framing and in its application. In other words, it is a highly political concept. In the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), the concept of ecosystem services is presented as a neutral, obvious, taken-for-granted, and accepted by a consensus of the report’s 1300 authors. By analyzing the MEA and case study examples from different tropical rain forest contexts, we show that different choices are required to define, measure, and value ecosystem services, all of which have ecological and political consequences. First, choices are made during the framing and institutionalization of the concept that mobilize, for example, a human-nature dichotomy and the pre-eminence of ecological and economic perspectives. Second, choices are made in the application of the concept, in terms of the type of ‘service’, the scale of analysis, and the kind of market rationality, that create winners and losers. Finally, choices are required when valuing different services – when for instance comparing the ‘apples and oranges’ of different kinds of services provided by different kinds of natural and social processes at different scales. As a result, different interests use this ‘buzzword’ concept to justify different kinds of interventions that at times might be totally opposed. We document examples from the land sparing vs. land sharing debate, from REDD projects conflicting with national carbon policies, and…. In an engaged political ecology, it is possible to harness the notion of ecosystem services in ways that promote social justice and environmental sustainability, but one has to be aware of the assumptions behind the concept.
David Lansing
Department of Geography and Environmental Systems,
University of Maryland Baltimore County
The Neutral State: A Genealogy of Ecosystem Services This paper considers the nation-state of Costa Rica’s current efforts to become “carbon neutral” and the role of ecosystem service payments in this process. In this paper, we trace how the connection between the country’s forests and a territorial space of carbon neutrality was able to emerge as rationality of governance. Specifically, this paper considers the turbulent period during the 1980s, when the Costa Rican state was: a) struggling to maintain a stance of geopolitical neutrality in the face on the US backed Contra war; b) managing an economic debt crisis; and c) trying to reverse some of the highest deforestation rates in the world. In short, the Costa Rican state was managing severe geopolitical, economic, and ecological crises. The confluence of these events enabled state agents to develop diverse and new ways to account for the country’s resources. Due to the outsize influence of the United States during this time, the state began to measure and track its forest loss while also positioning its existing forests into an equivalence relation with global financial markets through its pioneering debt for nature swaps. These initially unconnected practices of adequation and accounting ultimately coalesced in ways that extended the state’s rationality towards its resources in new ways. It moved from tracking resources across a Cartesian space to a problematic of calculation that came to include the atmosphere itself. This move from a two-dimensional to a three-dimensional rationality of governance allowed for the state to territorialize carbon as simultaneously both an object of governance and a component of its economy. Paradoxically, these sweeping rationalities are underpinned by locally precise forms of measuring and calculating specific parts of nature.
Donald Leffers
Department of Geography,
York University
Politics of airports, new towns, and nature preserves: Land use conflict in the Toronto region Land use planning articulates a logic within which governing bodies strive to conceptualize land topographically and objectively, relatively devoid of social and political processes. Yet land use change, and notions of development or conservation are deeply political processes that defy simplification or ‘natural modes of ordering’ (Blomley, 2011, p. 205.). My research investigates long term land use conflict in north Pickering in the Toronto region, conflict that resulted from federal and provincial planning experiments, and that has often been fueled by competing notions of land and ‘nature’. Following Blomley (2011), I suggest a relational (topological) approach to conceptualizing land and nature that is deeply social and political, and also in the processes of emergence. But as Blomley notes, even relational notions of land, when framed through dominant conceptions of property, entail boundary making, and in doing so pit certain uses and claims against others. This paper investigates the complex ways in which social actors, especially property developers, are implicated in land use planning and governance, especially through processes that use legislative tools to create value from land. I am particularly interested in the claims that are made when land use is contested, and the ways that both urban development of land and ‘nature’ conservation are articulated through the boundary work of property, everyday land use planning legislation and practices, and property developers themselves.
Elizabeth Lunstrum
Department of Geography,
York University
Public/Private Green Grabbing Across International Borders: The Greater Lebombo Conservancy as a Cross-Border Anti-Poaching Earlier this year, South African National Parks approved a controversial re-zoning of its flagship Kruger National Park. While there has been great public outcry against the plan’s opening of parts of Kruger to private investors, another consequential and equally neoliberal aspect has received far less attention. Namely, Kruger’s re-zoning allows for the creation of the Greater Lebombo Conservancy (GLC) across Kruger’s eastern border within Mozambique. Specifically, the GLC enables the recently-consolidated collection of private game reserves within Mozambique along the border to be integrated into Kruger. The hope is that by outsourcing conservation and security activities to private reserves, the GLC will act as a privatized buffer zone to help maintain Kruger’s joint ecological integrity and security status, or its “Protected Area Integrity.” Of immediate concern is the protection of Kruger’s rhinos, which are currently threatened due to an unprecedented eruption of commercial poaching. The GLC is hence part of Kruger’s complex anti-poaching strategy, which also includes the militarization of the park and the international border. Drawing on this case, we seek to contribute to debates on green grabbing and privatized conservation by asking: In what sense are market-led measures, such as privatization and de-regulation, instituted to address a global rise in commercial poaching? In a climate of simultaneous neoliberalization and state-led militarization of conservation spaces, in what ways do private and state interests merge to effect concrete forms of green grabbing and with what impact? Under this seemingly uneasy meshing of interests, how are nature conservation in general and Protected Area Integrity in particular used as a depoliticized alibi for accumulation through conservation, and what frictions emerge in these new public-private partnerships? Finally, what difference does it make when the spaces and “fruits” of green grabbing are located along a (starkly unequal) international border?
Kenneth Iain MacDonald
Department of Geography,
Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies,
University of Toronto
Fields of Green: Enclaved Social Process and the Construction of “Green Growth” at Rio+20 The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) held in June 2012 positioned the ostensible object of “the green economy” at the center of deliberations.  While the conference was widely deemed a failure in charting transnational governance arrangements, it simultaneously provided an enclaved space for private sector, non-profit, and governmental actors to launch initiatives and programs, essential to materializing a particular variant of “the green economy”.  Drawing on practice theory and related perspectives, we examine how the Corporate Sustainability Forum—a parallel event to Rio+20 hosted by the UN Global Compact—served as a performative field in which diverse actors enacted and helped constitute emerging logics, configure social relations, demonstrate forms of mutuality, extend organizational networks, and channel flows of capital, tied to capitalist visions for a green economy, producing a privatized success from a public ‘failure’.  However, this ‘success’ – the ability to define the ideological terrain of ‘the green’ economy’ – relies on the dis- and re-entanglement of actors within institutional and organizational fields.  Here we focus on the rhetoric of “green growth” as a core constituent of ‘the Green Economy’ to explore how, despite an apparent convergence of actors, the fractures and tensions central to the politics of environmental governance coexist without resolving contradictions at the core of environmental degradation.
Gary Martin
Global Diversity Foundation
New faces of ecological imperialism in Mexican forests: at the intersection of Payments for Environmental Services and Voluntary Conserved Areas Since 2003, the Mexican Commission for Protected Areas has certified community-based Voluntary Conserved Areas (VCAs), with the goal of incorporating them into the National Register of Protected Areas. VCAs are often located in places traditionally managed by indigenous peoples; they also intersect with Mexico’s green economy, which includes Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) programmes. Based on a case study of how VCAs and PES have affected the wellbeing and social cohesion of Chinantec communities in northern Oaxaca, this paper examines how both elements intersect to constitute a new form of ecological imperialism – one possible face of the global green grab.

A classic Marxian view of ecological imperialism sees it as a teleological capitalist process whereby the centre’s unsustainable growth depends on the periphery’s ecological degradation, social exclusion and economic marginalisation. The authors complement this perspective by providing a Foucauldian-inspired analysis of one of ecological imperialism’s prime tools for expansion: neoliberal governmentality. The paper suggests that such governmental techniques are what enable the effective exercise of ecological imperialism in spaces that, so far, had been physically removed from the centres of governance, thus extending empire into the periphery rather than simply exploiting it. The paper argues that neoliberal technologies of power and global political economic structures of inequality must be examined in tandem in order to make sense of how conservation and the green economy are transforming the lives and futures of Chinantec people – and more broadly Mexican Indigenous communities – and their relationship to their communal lands and resources.

Francis Masse
Department of Geography,
York University
Public/Private Green Grabbing Across International Borders: The Greater Lebombo Conservancy as a Cross-Border Anti-Poaching Earlier this year, South African National Parks approved a controversial re-zoning of its flagship Kruger National Park. While there has been great public outcry against the plan’s opening of parts of Kruger to private investors, another consequential and equally neoliberal aspect has received far less attention. Namely, Kruger’s re-zoning allows for the creation of the Greater Lebombo Conservancy (GLC) across Kruger’s eastern border within Mozambique. Specifically, the GLC enables the recently-consolidated collection of private game reserves within Mozambique along the border to be integrated into Kruger. The hope is that by outsourcing conservation and security activities to private reserves, the GLC will act as a privatized buffer zone to help maintain Kruger’s joint ecological integrity and security status, or its “Protected Area Integrity.” Of immediate concern is the protection of Kruger’s rhinos, which are currently threatened due to an unprecedented eruption of commercial poaching. The GLC is hence part of Kruger’s complex anti-poaching strategy, which also includes the militarization of the park and the international border. Drawing on this case, we seek to contribute to debates on green grabbing and privatized conservation by asking: In what sense are market-led measures, such as privatization and de-regulation, instituted to address a global rise in commercial poaching? In a climate of simultaneous neoliberalization and state-led militarization of conservation spaces, in what ways do private and state interests merge to effect concrete forms of green grabbing and with what impact? Under this seemingly uneasy meshing of interests, how are nature conservation in general and Protected Area Integrity in particular used as a depoliticized alibi for accumulation through conservation, and what frictions emerge in these new public-private partnerships? Finally, what difference does it make when the spaces and “fruits” of green grabbing are located along a (starkly unequal) international border?
Brett Sylvester Matulis University of Edinburgh PES and Property: The Expansion of Exclusionary Land Management Practices The practice of making “payments for ecosystem services” (PES) is about the formation of new social relations between land managers and the human beneficiaries of functioning ecological systems. More specifically, it is about establishing economic relations that (theoretically) transfer financial resources from “users” of services to “producers” who institute prescribed land management practices. The influential Coasian view sees “clearly defined and enforced” property rights as a condition for successful user-financed schemes, so that participating land managers may be rewarded (as well as held accountable) for their management activities. Among proponents of market-based conservation and the technocrats that implement such practices, this assumption frequently manifests in support of expanding individualized private ownership. Skeptics, however, remain troubled by the renewed prospect of privatization associated with PES, and critical scholars have done well to challenge these new enclosures of land and resources. But what about when PES operates in areas where private ownership rights are robust and widespread? Are we to believe that the tendency towards privatization poses no threat because those areas are already “lost” to private ownership? This paper considers how the social relationships that constitute property are shifting under the prescribed management practices of PES. Evidence is presented to suggest that, even on lands that are ostensibly already privately owned, management under PES is resulting in an expansion of exclusionary practices. It is argued that a broader conception of “privatization” is required so that the effect of market-based conservation on “already neoliberal” economies is not overlooked. Claims are situated in the framework of Ribot and Peluso’s “theory of access”.
Carlota McAllister
Department of Anthropology,
York University
Predators and Prey: Enclosing Animal Life on the Frontiers of the Green Economy In the Aysén region of Chilean Patagonia, the powerful Patagonia Without Dams coalition is waging a campaign against a proposal to build five hydroelectric megadams, arguing that this mythical land represents one of the world’s last remaining pristine wildernesses. The principal funder of the coalition, American deep ecologist Douglas Tompkins, is also the owner of a former sheep estancia, purchased for rewilding just as the dam project ramped up, at the proposed dam site. The sale of the estancia’s livestock radically downscaled the local ranching economy, on which most residents, descendants of the small-scale cattle- and sheepherders who colonized this land in the early 20th century, depend for their livelihood. Worse still, neighbours of the estancia claim, the new park has provided a breeding ground for wild predators of livestock, who serve Tompkins’s agenda by making ranching inviable on the edges of his property. Struggles to enforce responsibilities for animal behavior and determine the relationship of these responsibilities to property in land, in turn, inflect all local positions on the dam controversy. This paper examines these struggles to texplore he frictions that processes of property-making at different scales and historicities and with different material forms generate within capitalism’s global expansion.
Susannah McCandless
Global Diversity Foundation
New faces of ecological imperialism in Mexican forests: at the intersection of Payments for Environmental Services and Voluntary Conserved Areas Since 2003, the Mexican Commission for Protected Areas has certified community-based Voluntary Conserved Areas (VCAs), with the goal of incorporating them into the National Register of Protected Areas. VCAs are often located in places traditionally managed by indigenous peoples; they also intersect with Mexico’s green economy, which includes Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) programmes. Based on a case study of how VCAs and PES have affected the wellbeing and social cohesion of Chinantec communities in northern Oaxaca, this paper examines how both elements intersect to constitute a new form of ecological imperialism – one possible face of the global green grab.

A classic Marxian view of ecological imperialism sees it as a teleological capitalist process whereby the centre’s unsustainable growth depends on the periphery’s ecological degradation, social exclusion and economic marginalisation. The authors complement this perspective by providing a Foucauldian-inspired analysis of one of ecological imperialism’s prime tools for expansion: neoliberal governmentality. The paper suggests that such governmental techniques are what enable the effective exercise of ecological imperialism in spaces that, so far, had been physically removed from the centres of governance, thus extending empire into the periphery rather than simply exploiting it. The paper argues that neoliberal technologies of power and global political economic structures of inequality must be examined in tandem in order to make sense of how conservation and the green economy are transforming the lives and futures of Chinantec people – and more broadly Mexican Indigenous communities – and their relationship to their communal lands and resources.

James Meadowcroft
Carleton University
The limits to (green) growth? Competing articulations of limits in the green economy Over the past five years the themes of ‘green growth’ and the ‘green economy’ have gained increasing importance in the work of international organizations such as the OECD, UNEP and World Bank. In the critical literature this orientation has often been presented as the latest incarnation of neo-liberalism, part of a systematic effort to commodify nature, develop new sites for capital accumulation, and perpetuate the myth that economic growth can continue indefinitely. This paper examines the green growth and green economy initiatives, in relation to longstanding arguments over environmental limits. It argues that the critics have substantially overstated the coherence of this agenda and neglected the extent to which it serves as a site  where competing claims on the limits to growth can play out. In tracing the articulation of competing perspectives on the sustainability of growth-based consumption, prospects for relative versus absolute decoupling, and indicators of progress and wellbeing, a more nuanced picture emerges. Here, limits should not be regarded as absent from the discussion altogether. Rather they are central to how initiatives on green growth and the green economy have been presented thus far, with standard conceptions of economic growth increasingly sitting alongside emerging notions of post-material growth and non-monetary indicators of progress, as informed by more critical degrowth and ‘GDP-plus’ approaches. This paper considers the possibilities for leveraging existing divergences on limits between institutional actors engaged in this agenda, with a view to shifting the dialogue in a more transformative direction.
James Lawrence Merron
Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Stellenbosch University/ Centre for African Studies, University of Basel
Making money grow on trees: Expertise, green technologies and the transformation of land(scape) on the fringes of a World Heritage Site in South Africa While global in its extent and consequences, the “green economy” is emplaced and legitimized through distinct cultural meanings and sociological circumstances. On the fringes of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, experts and private landowners are negotiating the “win-win” possibilities of a “green technology” that will mitigate a water disaster and create jobs, in tandem.  The Working for Water programme (WfW) – called “South Africa’s most successful public works programmes” (UNDP 2008) – has hired the “poorest of the poor” to cut down “high water-consuming invasive alien plants” since 1995. In an effort to allow WfW to operate outside of poverty alleviation grants a trade in ‘water credits’ is being aided by corporate, municipal and scientific actors, called WaterBalance (WB). Based on its carbon equivalent in terms of “offsetting”, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature South Africa calls WB “the world’s first fully quantifiable water neutral scheme”.  Within the institutional landscape of water management developments in the area, NGOs are systematically articulating this techno-scientific model in order to become progressively institutionalised, translating policies of outside control into market opportunities for ‘local’ people.  Drawing on an ethnographic study conducted by the author concerning the development of a ‘payments for ecosystem services’ in the Baviaanskloof-Tsitsikamma watershed, this paper highlights (1) the conceptual innovation of experts to shifting values about how resource ought to be managed in South Africa and (2) how trust building is performed at access points between experts and private landowners toward producing a “green” economic space in the Eastern Cape.
Michael Mikulak Virginia Tech Fast Capitalism and Slow Climate: Geoengineering and the Commons. As politicians lag behind scientists and continue to do very little about climate change, new research into tipping points and feedback mechanisms are changing our understanding of climate change as gradual.  In Storms of My Grandchildren, James Hanson traces a growing body of evidence that suggests the planet can go from a warm-wet state, to a dry-cold one in less than a decade. Hanson and others often refer to climate change in terms of debt, sin, and redemption; a Faustian bargain humanity has made with fossil fuels and an existential debt we have to future generations and the planet. The longer we wait, geoengineering is increasingly the only option we have left to pay back this debt. While currently thought of as science fiction, the intentional manipulation of large scale earth systems for the purpose of climate change abatement is gaining traction in scientific and business circles. My paper will examine how the concept of green growth, ecological and economic debt, and the prospect of rapid climate change are interacting in order to set the stage for the privatization of ecological “services,” the weather, and whole biological systems, all in the name of repaying our debt to the future. Investment in geoengineering and other technologically driven solutions, like Asteroid mining, would justify enclosure of global commons (atmosphere, carbon cycle etc), while also invoking a moral/biopolitical dimension to that salvation. With prominent voices like James Lovelock giving moral legitimacy to geoengineering, and wealthy billionaires such as Bill Gates and Richard Branson behind it, some form of this technology will be used in the next decade.  Aside from the obvious potential to wreak hazardous unintended consequences, I argue that the true power of geoengineering is its ability to save capitalism.
Sarah Milne
Resource Management Asia-Pacific Program,
Crawford School of Public Policy,
Australian National University
Value generation in the green economy: The performance and fetishisation of forest carbon Schemes to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) need to be
formally validated and verified in order for the carbon credits to be saleable, credible and valuable in
international markets. The processes of validation and verification are now highly standardised and
technically sophisticated, making them intelligible only to specialised practitioners. In spite of the
inaccessibility of these processes, they now represent an essential moment in the production of
forest carbon as a commodity and in the generation of its value. One key aspect of the validation
process for forest carbon is the need to demonstrate the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of
local and indigenous communities that will be affected by REDD+. We examine FPIC as one of
several ‘rules’ or safeguards – idealised sets of principles and practices – that aims to mediate the
production of forest carbon in ways deemed to be socially responsible. We then explore the
practical challenges of implementing FPIC, drawing from ethnographic observations at one REDD+
demonstration site in Cambodia. Our data illustrate how FPIC implementation is an almost
impossible pursuit in contexts like Cambodia, and that in practice it can be highly performative and
ritualised, becoming an instrumental process that is not necessarily ‘free’ nor ‘consenting’. In this
light, FPIC emerges as an ideal or myth, which must be performed as a spectacle for the purposes of
validation and hence the production of forest carbon. Furthermore, in increasingly competitive
carbon markets, the implementation of FPIC with ‘forest dwelling peoples’ imparts special values to
the carbon that is traded: it becomes socially responsible, less risky, and even exotic. Thus we argue
that a double act of fetishisation is occurring, in which: (i) the processes and social relations of FPIC
are themselves fetishised, being conveyed as virtuous and world-changing; and (ii) the forest carbon
fetish is advanced and elaborated, given FPIC’s ability to conceal and ‘sanitise’ the underlying
dynamics of production. The increasingly widespread adoption of FPIC in standards for REDD+
therefore represents a new moment of value generation in the green economy, in which
performance plays a key role.
Manoj Misra
Department of Sociology,
University of Alberta
What do ‘green growth’ and ‘climate resistant crops’ mean for poor Bangladeshi peasants? Looking back to look forward The 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted that Bangladesh would suffer a yield loss of, respectively, 8% and 32% in its rice and wheat production due to climate change. The government proposes to mitigate these losses by introducing ‘climate resilient crops’ (CRCs). This government policy resonates well with the all too familiar ‘green growth’ strategy advanced by corporations and their ancillaries. The utopianism hidden in such a technological solution to a socio-ecological crisis is not new: it was also the premise of the rather unsuccessful Green Revolution (GR) that took place in Bangladesh and elsewhere. The consequences of GR on peasant producers are instructive to understand the future implications of CRCs. I use data from my doctoral fieldwork to demonstrate how Bangladeshi peasants who adopted GR technologies are struggling to resist displacement from their profession. I combine Harvey’s concept of ‘accumulation by dispossession’ with Foster’s notion of ‘ecological rift’ to argue that CRCs have the potential to not only dispossess peasant producers but also to further deepen our rift with the environment. I question the utopian assumption that market-driven ‘smart technologies’ can tackle climate change-led threat to food security without first addressing the socio-economic vulnerability of peasants from current hostile neoliberal policies.
Birgit Muller
LAIOS-IIAC Centre National de Recherche Scientifique Paris
“We encourage countries to give due consideration to implementing…” A thick description and linguistic analysis of the negotiations about Responsible Agricultural Investment at the Summit Rio + 20 The final negotiations about eleven paragraphs on ‘Food security and nutrition and sustainable agriculture’ in the Declaration of the Summit Rio plus 20 will be the focus of this paper. These paragraphs sum up what government delegates resolved to say about the agriculture and nutrition policies they were envisaging without committing to any specific action or firm engagement. It proposes to read backwards the final document proposed and study its ‘social life’ in the meeting room of Pavilion C of Rio Centro. On the basis of the observation of the interactions at the actual negotiations, textual analysis of the different drafts produced and a discourse analysis of the debates the paper proposes to examine the power games around the negotiating table and produce a thick description of the political, social and economic contingencies behind the actual consensus text and how they are glossed over. How was for example reference to controversial international guidelines such as the Principles for responsible agricultural investment of the World Bank introduced into the text that can serve as a Trojan Horse for legitimizing further large-scale land-grabbing? How did the text end up having many of the ‘right’ nouns and a lot of the ‘wrong’ verbs, thus making high moral claims while legitimizing regulatory
Andreas Neef
Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies,
Kyoto University
Societal and Political Discourses on the Valorization of Biodiversity: Scrutinizing the TEEB Approach The rationale for valorizing biodiversity and other so-called ecosystem services has been discussed controversially since the end of the 1990s. While the proponents of economic valuation, valorization and financialization of biodiversity count on new impulses for global biodiversity protection and even expect positive effects in terms of rural poverty alleviation, the critics of such market-based concepts and instruments fear the transformation of biodiversity ecosystem services into marketable commodities, associated with the enclosure and commodification of nature and its biological diversity in the sense of a “Green Capitalism”. The controversy around this issue has gained additional momentum through the international popularization of the “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity – TEEB” approach since 2010. Against this backdrop, the German Parliament has commissioned a set of scientific reports aimed at scrutinizing the TEEB study’s sweeping conclusions and contentious implications. Drawing on my own involvement in this expert consultation, I will first discuss some of my own findings from a five-country comparative study on societal and political discourses on the valorization of biodiversity, with particular emphasis on the discursive strategies employed by a variety of actors and the discourse coalitions among them. I will then present first-hand insights from a workshop to be held in Berlin in March 2013, where the findings from the German Parliament’s consultation project will be discussed with policy makers and other stakeholder groups.
Benjamin Neimark Department of Political Science & Geography,
Old Dominion University
Is the Green Economy performative?: Metrological regimes, bioprospecting and the creation of new commodities for biodiversity conservation in Madagascar. First promoted in 1992 under auspices of the Convention on Biological Diversity Earth Summit in Rio and reinforced twenty years later at Rio +20, the commodification of nature as a strategy for biodiversity conservation is now found ubiquitous in global environmental discourse and policy. This ideological shift in green governance has effectively transformed ‘biodiversity’ into a spectrum of global goods, including carbon credits, offsets, ecosystem services, and biogenetic derivatives for fuels and natural products. Recently, scholars have attempted to better understand the fundamental role of institutions and organizations in defining such ideological shifts of market-led environmental governance and conservation policy within the burgeoning ‘Green Economy.’ Although, much of this work identifies neoliberal discourse and institutional performance and practices facilitating access to biodiversity and benefits that derive, less attention is given to the development of metrological regimes of technologies, measurement, calculation, and organization facilitating the circulation of exchange of nature’s new commodities. This paper investigates specific metrics used to calculate the value of biodiversity for commodification/conservation under the practice of bioprospecting (drug discovery from nature). I employ an institutional ethnography to study one of the largest US federally funded bioprospecting initiatives to discover natural products– the Madagascar International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups (ICBG). Through a unique methodological approach called access mapping, I highlight the work of scientific actors –from botanists, biologists, and medicinal chemists in laboratories and administrative offices− who promote biogenetic discoveries for purposes of legitimating the capture and control of land/resources in Madagascar. Furthermore, I suggest ways forward for social scientists to examine the performativity of the Green Economy in influencing conservation and development policies globally.
Adrian Paul Nel
Department of Geography,
University of Otago, New Zealand
The limited language of the ‘Land Grab’: The case of New Forests and Oxfam In Uganda Oxfam, in 2011, published a report alleging the enforced evictions of 22,000 people in Uganda by the New Forests Company (UK), to make way for a forestry plantation that doubled as carbon sequestration project under the Clean Development Mechanism’s Afforestation/Reforestation (A/R) methodology.  As perhaps the most controversial case within African carbon forestry and climate mitigation efforts to date, exploring this report and its context provides some fruitful ground to unpack issues around the discourse of ‘land grabbing’ and its critique, as pertaining to carbon sequestration, and the contemporary African state’s interaction with ‘fortress conservation’.  The report was intended to form a core ‘win’ on ‘land grabs’ for  Oxfam’s nascent GROW: Food. Life. Planet campaign. However in many ways this proved a miscalculation. Whilst the resulting fallout attracted a large degree media attention and debate, and saw impact on the companies’ shareholder base, it also resulted in the NGO facing eviction from Uganda for what the government and company termed the misrepresentation of lawful evictions from a protected area to which the company had no part. It was the business of the government it was claimed. This research seeks to problematize this position. In particular it draws attention to assemblages of state and private actors, and the zones of ‘awkward engagement’  that exist between them that simultaneously legitimise and enable the (re)production of spaces of both carbon sequestration and dispossession. Using this lens it is argued that the debate around green grabbing in rural Africa needs to move beyond the generic ‘land grab’ to encapsulate multiple,  systemic interactions and state-actor alignments which constitute what Martinello (forthcoming) has termed the ‘accumulation of dispossession’.
Katja Grotzner Neves
Department of Sociology & Anthropology,
Concordia University
Botanic Governmentality: Subverting Neoliberal Logic in the Age of Economic Austerity A growing body of literature has shown that much of  large-scale biodiversity conservation in Africa, Asia, and Latin America? can be understood as an historically situated phenomenon that is associated with renewed capitalist economic expansion, neoliberalism, and the financialization of nature. Scholars who have studied and documented this phenomenon have called it “neoliberal biodiversity conservation”. While recognizing the heterogeneity of ‘biodiversity conservation’ as a concept, and the plurality of institutional forms it assumes, these scholars argue that an overarching neoliberal logic unites seemingly disparate conservation projects within a single hegemonic framework. From this perspective biodiversity conservation emerged as a panacea for the world’s contemporary environmental and economic woes. The (re)invention of botanic gardens as agents of biodiversity conservation within the current crisis of neoliberal economics simultaneously unsettles and sheds new light on these narratives. To be sure, it unveils the arrival of a new form of biodiversity conservation governmentality as a consequence of the failure/crisis of the neoliberal project. It co-exists and intersects with the existing forms of environmentality that the aforementioned scholars have amply documented, analyzed, and theorized but which have not been been considered within the context of what I call the ‘governmentality of austerity’. From a substantive point of view this presentation reveals that at botanic gardens actors simultaneously subvert neoliberalism while conforming to capitalist logic, challenge dominant knowledge-power matrices while reproducing them, and objectify Nature while bringing forth the inextricability of human nonhuman entanglement. In so doing, vital viable alternatives to neoliberal conservation are proliferating throughout the world of botanic gardens.
David Norris
Carleton University
Growing the green growth network: Norm diffusion and networked
governance in the green economy
This paper aims to contribute to recent debates on the global diffusion of ideas, by drawing  attention to the structures of policy and social networks through which they travel. Focusing  primarily on the recent meteoric rise of the ‘green growth’ policy discourse, it argues that the growing  influence and apparent consensus around this emerging concept can be understood by the structure  and interconnectedness of those networks within which this concept is embedded. This argument is  usefully informed by social constructivist scholarship, which has long highlighted the role of related norms and social structures within which emergent ideas are both embedded and consequently  legitimated. Though where it takes its point of departure is in sketching the contours of how social  structures might further contribute to political outcomes. In other words, where the literature on green  growth so far argues that this idea finds its ‘fit’ within the broader neoliberal social structure, the  mechanisms through which green growth is articulated and goes on to influence political outcomes  are less clearly understood. It would be useful for our analysis then not only to sketch the shape of  social structures within which ideas find their influence, but in going a step further, to consider how  the shape of that structure itself plays a role in the direction and influence that ideas take. Following  from the burgeoning literature on networked governance, this paper examines green growth as one  such instance in which network effects provide an account for the growing normative influence of  this concept in recent years.
Eric Nost
Department of Geography
University of Kentucky
Measuring and marketing ecosystem services, functions, and values in Oregon echo recent scholarship that nuances how neoliberal conservation governance logics unfold in specific places and within already existing social relations. Some international environmentalists and economists call for “putting a value on nature” but I wonder how and why specific actors get involved in such a project. I elaborate the case of new ecosystem service markets in Oregon, where I explain the on the ground and in the office work of the various assessments required to produce and revise market metrics. These ecosystem calculators problematically ask ecological assessors to think about future conditions and about space both on and off the restoration site. The use of digital tools like Excel, GIS, and web mapping software in assessment does not make nature somehow more transparent or subsumed across landscapes or watersheds; their use instead introduces its own set of obstacles. Assessors question how the metrics’ focus on ecosystem functioning will alter their business practice, while the state points to functions-based accounting as its statutory mandate. The Oregon case illustrates how governance trajectories and histories matter. The logic of imagining nature as a collection of functions providing services is contextual, shaped in Oregon by the structure of the banking community and the position of the state. But the case also shows how logics of neoliberalization – outsourcing the work of developing assessments and decisions about the units of commodification – can fold in on themselves to become the problems to be overcome. In this way, neoliberalization may throw up barriers to itself, though that does not preclude the triumph of some form of market-oriented conservation.
Krystof Obidzinski
Center for international Forestry Research (CIFOR)
What shade of green? Indonesian policy for acceleration and expansion of economic development We examine the dynamics of greening the economic development policy in Indonesia where large scale program for accelerated economic development zones intersects with the national plan to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation. In 2011, the Government of Indonesia launched the Master Plan for Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia Economic Development 2011-2025, labeled MP3EI, which at the cost of US $400 billion aims to propel Indonesia into the ten biggest economies by 2025. However, ambitious infrastructure targets and continued focus on natural resources have become a cause for concern, resulting in the pressure from NGOs and donors to adjust MP3EI so it is compatible with the national plan to reduce green house gas emissions in Indonesia by 26% in 2020. As a result, the official discourse has shifted and MP3EI is increasingly described as green.

We examine the institutional dynamics which have led to the greening of this development policy. We further explore the green character of MP3EI by assessing: 1) compatibility of economic growth objectives with Green House Gas emission reduction targets and 2) composition of investing companies and their commitment to environmental safeguards. We find the greening of development in East Kalimantan is a well-intentioned response by government institutions and private sector actors to pressing environmental concerns but it still has significant shortcomings. The development of East Kalimantan food estate and highway construction may lead to heightened Green House Gas emissions. Few of the oil palm plantation companies involved are part of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. Similarly, a limited number of the forestry projects have sustainability certification. While moving in the right direction, the acceleration and expansion of Indonesian economic development is yet to become a green economy.

Paige Olmsted
University of British Columbia
Payments for Ecosystem Services: For better or for worse? Payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs have proliferated across the globe in the last 15 years, with the promise of addressing both conservation and livelihood goals (Kinzig et al., 2011). Seen as a critical component of the development of a green economy, PES projects are currently being implemented at multiple scales (regional, national, international) and across sectors (predominantly water, carbon, and biodiversity) with proponents ranging from local NGOs, national governments and international institutions (Author et al., submitted). With PES as another approach to harness market forces in order to “improve” environmental management and social conditions, criticism has emerged suggesting such programs reinforce existing power balances that influence PES benefit distribution, and at a more fundamental level, they erode the cultural significance of goods that did not previously have a market value (Wunder, 2006; Kosoy & Cabrera, 2010; Daw et al., 2011).  Partly in response to such critiques to PES as well as the ecosystem services approach in general, strategies to enhance stakeholder participation, engagement, and a broader interpretation of cultural ecosystem service “values” are emerging (eg. van Noorwick et al., 2012; Chan et al., 2012). This paper seeks to explore linkages between stakeholder engagement, institutional arrangements, and resource management practices in a variety of PES projects, across sector and scale, to consider if there are circumstances in which market based mechanisms can support the attainment of social and ecological goals, or if PES is a short-term strategy operating within a paradigm that puts communities at risk, one that is ultimately degrading natural resources such programs intend to protect.
Tracey Osborne
School of Geography and Development,
University of Arizona
REDD Flags: Climate Change Mitigation and Accumulation by Dispossession in a Mexican Rainforest REDD is an emblematic mechanism of the green economy that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with deforestation and degradation in the developing world. While proponents of REDD argue that carbon payments will incentivize conservation and sustainable forest management, making REDD a win-win solution for communities and the climate, numerous indigenous and forest communities across the Global South argue that REDD exemplifies a type of green land grab that is likely to enclose forest commons, separating producers from the means of subsistence.  Since 2011, Governor Sabines of Chiapas Mexico has provided cash payments to land-rights holders of the Lacandon Community in exchange for leaving forests intact. The payments are intended to stabilize deforestation and allow for the completion of forest inventories, so that communities can access future federal and international funding for REDD. As international payments for REDD are expected to fall below the opportunity costs of land, income may be complemented with financial benefits derived from the production of oil palm and rubber just outside the region’s Montes Azules Reserve. In this paper I argue that this early state program in preparation for REDD illustrates a form of accumulation by dispossession. While the program constrains land use for subsistence, it allow for the expansion of oil palm and rubber, the labor force of which will be likely derived from campesinos who have lost access to land. In addition, I will explore new forms of environmental governance involving consent garnered through cash payments, as well as state force in the form of the newly created ecological police who monitor and exert severe sanctions on those found using forest resources.
Darren Patrick
Faculty of Environmental Studies,
York University
Vegetal (de/re)territorializations: From the cracks of an old urban order, the ruderal emergence of the new This paper traces the role of invasive species in the redevelopment of New York City’s High Line. In accounting for the rendering public/private of this formerly abandoned and privately owned space, I discuss the vegetal de/reterritorializations of ailanthus altissima, also known as the ‘tree of heaven’ or the ‘malodorous tree’.  British nature writer Richard Mabey has apocalyptically described how this species, which thrives in urban areas, would easily overwhelm a city with even a minimal decline in maintenance.  Not only was it the unloved and overabundant species figured in Betty Smith’s (1943) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, but the ‘tree of heaven’ was also among the invasive exotic ‘colonizers’ of New York City’s High Line, before it was appropriated by a neoliberal redevelopment plan, scrubbed clean, and replanted with an intensely managed selection of mostly ‘native’ plants.  Read through the standard narratives of gentrification as urban transformation, a. altissima tells us little about the intensely organized effort to (re)make the High Line.  But read through notions of assemblage, (de/re)territorialization, and cultivation, the plant, along with other flora and fauna, not to mention the queer cruisers among them, transitioned the High Line from industrial organization to a vegetal assemblage overflowing with creative desire.  The latter made the ‘unthinkable’ possible; rather than being torn down, the structure was kept alive, but designed to death in the service of capital.   This paper seeks a politics of vegetality and cultivation rooted in the possibility that the space could have been — and may still become — otherwise.
Rebecca Pearse
School of Social Sciences,
University of New South Wales
Reading Karl Polanyi in a warming world This paper is a critical reading of the work of Karl Polanyi as a means to theorise the contestation over carbon commodities. The metaphor of ‘double movement’ is the driving dialectical tension playing out in Polanyi’s (1944) most celebrated work – The Great Transformation. This concept has captured the imaginations of more than one generation of theorists interested in understanding both the resilience of and resistance to the commodification of various arenas of social and ecological life. Competing interpretations abound. Should we understand the double movement as a kind of safety valve for market society, or a symbol of the Marxian contradiction? The category of difference between these interpretations is their depiction of social and ecological agency behind the causes and resolutions of conflict. This is understandable, since Polanyi’s work is limited in this regard. This problematic is a common bugbear for scholars of critical political economy, particularly works theorising climate crisis. The debate within ecological Marxism over O’Connor’s second contradiction thesis is a case in point. Whilst fruitful discussion has been had within Polanyian and Marxist political economy, only a deeper engagement with social theoretical approaches to social/ecological agency can furnish a (neo)Polanyian dialectic which explains the struggle over marketisation in a time of climate crisis. I draw on examples from two types of carbon commodities produced in Australia – coal and CO2e – to understand the intertwined movements of carbon commodities old and new.
Blake Poland
Dalla Lana School of Public Health,
University of Toronto
Democratizing Power: Environmental Justice in Toronto In the twenty-first century, urban centres such as Toronto, have become a focal point for concerns about the energy conservation and renewable energy, even as urban development and consumption continue to produce high levels of waste and pollution. Policies such as Ontario’s Green Energy and Economy Act (GEEA) seek to ‘green’ methods of production and consumption, and have been offered as a potential solution to energy and environmental challenges. Employing an environmental justice lens, we analyze the GEEA , first, to critique the neo-liberal and green capitalist ideologies embedded in the policy, and second, to examine the interests of actors in the emerging Ontario community power sector. Access to the power grid for more diverse players is identified as a potential site for the democratization of participation in keeping with the goals of environmental justice. Drawing on in-depth interviews with ENGO leaders, the paper considers the success and challenges that community power groups encounter in accessing the power grid, and examines the case of a successful community power initiative.
Carlos Alberto Ramirez-Pascualli
State University of New York,
College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Clean energy or capitalist creationism? Industrialization processes have been historically associated with the use of fossil hydrocarbons as their major “energy source”. The link between carbon and industry remains crucial but hydrocarbons are being questioned today because of sustainability and environmental concerns: fossil hydrocarbons are non-renewable, and their combustion produces CO2,a gas that is thought to contribute to climate change. These issues have forced the reimagination of the future energy-economy relation into constructs such as the “global low-carbon economy”. In this visualization of the future, global income per capita would grow without increasing the amount of fossil hydrocarbons burned. The energy required would come from “renewable”, “clean” sources, namely: biofuels, biomass, waste, solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear and hydropower.

I use the concepts of low entropy (Georgescu), net energy (Odum), and circulation of commodities (Marx) to problematize the vision of a low-carbon economy from a biophysical perspective. In particular, I will focus on 1) the relativization of environmental impacts embodied in the adjective “clean”, and 2) the abstraction, dematerialization and conflation of materials and industrial processes – namely fuel refining and electric generation and storage – entailed in the term “energy”. These two constructs nurture capitalist creationism, the conviction that materials and processes can be created through, and reduced to, the circulation of capital.

While pursuing cleaner ways to generate electricity and produce fuels is a necessary task, the promise of a low-carbon economy is being used to promote the violent logic of the market (e.g. carbon pricing will function efficiently only if subsidies to the price of fossil fuels are eliminated internationally). Thus, the transition towards a low-carbon economy requires a large-scale and long-term alignment of multiple actors, a goal that can be reached only through the intervention of states and the international financial institutions.

Jennifer Rice
Department of Geography,
University of Georgia
The Neutral State: A Genealogy of Ecosystem Services This paper considers the nation-state of Costa Rica’s current efforts to become “carbon neutral” and the role of ecosystem service payments in this process. In this paper, we trace how the connection between the country’s forests and a territorial space of carbon neutrality was able to emerge as rationality of governance. Specifically, this paper considers the turbulent period during the 1980s, when the Costa Rican state was: a) struggling to maintain a stance of geopolitical neutrality in the face on the US backed Contra war; b) managing an economic debt crisis; and c) trying to reverse some of the highest deforestation rates in the world. In short, the Costa Rican state was managing severe geopolitical, economic, and ecological crises. The confluence of these events enabled state agents to develop diverse and new ways to account for the country’s resources. Due to the outsize influence of the United States during this time, the state began to measure and track its forest loss while also positioning its existing forests into an equivalence relation with global financial markets through its pioneering debt for nature swaps. These initially unconnected practices of adequation and accounting ultimately coalesced in ways that extended the state’s rationality towards its resources in new ways. It moved from tracking resources across a Cartesian space to a problematic of calculation that came to include the atmosphere itself. This move from a two-dimensional to a three-dimensional rationality of governance allowed for the state to territorialize carbon as simultaneously both an object of governance and a component of its economy. Paradoxically, these sweeping rationalities are underpinned by locally precise forms of measuring and calculating specific parts of nature.
Raymond A. Rogers
Faculty of Environmental Studies,
York University
The Tragedy of Constructed Scarcity The central contention of this paper is that generalized economic scarcity and generalized ecological scarcity have linked together and enclosed the environmental debate within the workings of market mechanisms. This analytical approach presents a profound difficulty for those who are concerned about environmental problems. Rather than ecological disturbance presenting an enormous challenge to the standard practices of our day and providing a basis for in-depth analysis, the causes of environmental problems (e.g., consumer choice associated with economic scarcity and the market institutions that accompany it) have been generalized so that the concept of scarcity becomes the way of understanding how the human and natural worlds work at a fundamental level. In short, the very processes that require analysis with regard to environmental problems become invisible because they frame the analysis that is undertaken. This agenda not only marginalizes indigenous people as carrying capacity is appropriated in the name of globalization, it also dis-empowers consumers in whose name this economic expansion is carried out by constricting the social realm and rendering individuals vulnerable and dependent.

In the case of Canada’s East Coast Fishery, policies of the nation state supported the very dynamics that caused ecological collapse and economic marginalization, namely the increasing enclosure of fishing dynamics within the structures and processes of market capitalism and the rewarding of the most powerful exploiters of the fish stocks. What was presented as conservation was really an enclosure movement. Or to put it another way, the Canadian government put in place the very processes that cause the “tragedy of the commons,” all the while identifying it as the problem they were trying to solve.

Luisa J. Rollins  Department of Anthropology,
University of Illinois at Chicago
The Reproduction of Nature, Environmental Justice, and the Limits to the “Greening” of Labor Based on ethnographic research with conservation and reforestation workers in the Dominican Republic, this presentation explores the social relations involved in the making of green economies. Large-scale projects to revitalize forests and watershed areas along the Dominican-Haitian border have been touted as a way to provide green jobs in the marginalized border region. These projects list the “creation of green jobs” as one of their main objectives. On paper, the creation of green jobs that would contribute to rural/agrarian livelihoods in transitioning-towards-green economies looks promising. However, the current focus on the production side of the green economy is on new technologies (carbon markets, new energy initiatives, greener materials and products), which may indeed be necessary, but which may also overshadow the need to create not only green jobs, but also decent working conditions for green workers. Indeed, brigade work – on which these reforestation projects rely – is usually project-based, and characterized by unstable and sometimes insecure conditions. Dominican reforestation brigade workers oftentimes hire Haitians to cover their work, agreeing to pay them a fraction of the already low wages they themselves receive. These workers work as day laborers, being paid only for the number of days worked and not receiving any other benefit, such as worker compensation insurance. Their daily meals are usually discounted from their wages as well. The production, reproduction, and maintenance of forests are at the most basic level of the green economy’s valuable environmental services (carbon sequestration, watershed protection, biodiverse – and bio-profitable – ecosystems). If not engaged with critically, this work may end up relegated to the same place as other reproductive work – such as household reproductive labor – in the current dominant economic system. This presentation questions the “alternative,” or transformative, potential of a greener version of global capitalism’s status quo with regards to the exploitation of labor and the reproduction of oppressive social structures.
Alka Sabharwal
Anthropology and Sociology Discipline Group,
School of Social Sciences,
The University of Western Australia
Defending Nation or Nature? Emergence of Military Environmentalism on the borders of India. In India, the military’s role in eco-restoration is often touted as eminently appropriate due to military’s extensive infrastructure and the presence of extraordinary biodiversity in the frontier regions under military’s occupation. The argument for military environmentalism has attained a greater degree of conviction with ‘environmental restoration and protection’ being urged as Indian military’s fifth dimension to the existing four dimensions of ‘defending country’s borders’, ‘ensuring internal’ and ‘international peace’ and ‘disaster relief’. In order to showcase this, the Indian military has entered into formal alliances with the international conservation agencies to achieve their acquired environmental objectives. The paper demonstrates the case of Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary, lying on the Indian and Chinese borders in the Trans Himalayan region of Ladakh. Through a critical analysis, the paper discusses how environmental alignments of the Indian military help to legitimise recent military expansion in the Sanctuary. The paper explores how the presence of endangered fauna gives an opportunity to the Indian military to expand its infrastructure in Changthang. Evidently, in 2012, India has increased its annual defence spending up to $36 billion, leading to an expansion of military infrastructure on its borders with an inevitable ecological impact. Integral to military environmentalism argument is also the question on how the very presence of massive military infrastructure in ecological fragile regions becomes critical to the environmental goals. The paper examines how the large scale alliances between the military and the international conservation agencies undermine the environmental mandate of the local government and also dismiss the deserving role of traditional occupants. Overall, the paper tries to “unpack” how the systemic pacification and elimination of resistance through military environmentalism, provides one of the means by which neo-liberal project of India is able to secure the conditions of its reproduction and expansion.
Chris Sandbrook
United Nations Environment Programme,
World Conservation Monitoring Centre
University of Cambridge
What do conservationists really think about markets? The recent history of biodiversity conservation practice has been characterised by the increasing use of Market-Based Instruments. An emerging body of critical social science research seeks to understand this development. This literature tends to characterise conservationists as being ideologically in favour of markets in conservation. An alternative possibility is that conservationists pursue market solutions as a pragmatic response to prevailing political and economic circumstances. In this paper we seek to establish empirically what conservation professionals really think about markets in conservation. We used Q-methodology, a tool for analysing structure and form within respondents’ subjective positions. The results suggest that conservationists are circumspect about the growing use of markets in conservation. We identify two dominant discourses that we label ‘outcome focused enthusiasm’ and ‘ideological scepticism’. Neither of these perspectives indicates strong, or uncritical, support for market approaches, and the views of our respondents appear to recognise the limitations of markets both in theory and practice. While there is some difference in views between the two dominant discourses that we document in this paper, there is considerable convergence towards a position that we label ‘cautious pragmatism’. We conclude that those studying conservation need to be cautious about over-generalising the perspectives and values held by conservation professionals, as there appears to be far less consensus about the adoption of market-led approaches in this sector than has been suggested. Further research could investigate the drivers of pro-market behaviour at the organisational level given the evident personal scepticism of many conservationists.
Xavier Arnauld de Sartre                 CNRS (France) The political ecology of ecosystem services The dominance of “ecosystem services” as a guiding concept for environmental management hides the fact that there are choices implicit in its framing and in its application. In other words, it is a highly political concept. In the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), the concept of ecosystem services is presented as a neutral, obvious, taken-for-granted, and accepted by a consensus of the report’s 1300 authors. By analyzing the MEA and case study examples from different tropical rain forest contexts, we show that different choices are required to define, measure, and value ecosystem services, all of which have ecological and political consequences. First, choices are made during the framing and institutionalization of the concept that mobilize, for example, a human-nature dichotomy and the pre-eminence of ecological and economic perspectives. Second, choices are made in the application of the concept, in terms of the type of ‘service’, the scale of analysis, and the kind of market rationality, that create winners and losers. Finally, choices are required when valuing different services – when for instance comparing the ‘apples and oranges’ of different kinds of services provided by different kinds of natural and social processes at different scales. As a result, different interests use this ‘buzzword’ concept to justify different kinds of interventions that at times might be totally opposed. We document examples from the land sparing vs. land sharing debate, from REDD projects conflicting with national carbon policies, and…. In an engaged political ecology, it is possible to harness the notion of ecosystem services in ways that promote social justice and environmental sustainability, but one has to be aware of the assumptions behind the concept.
Mary Schorse
University of Delaware
Are Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) Mechanisms a justified neoliberal experiment? Most would agree that sustained environmental degradation is the result of society’s inability to respect ecological limits, resulting primarily from the profit-driven capitalist model of accumulation which views nature as little more than an input to production. This model historically ignores the myriad of benefits provided by natural ecosystems (positive externalities) as well as the pollution and resource degradation (negative externalities) is creates. Economists suggest that externalities (positive or negative) must be included in the costs of production in order to fix the problem. Whereas a neoclassical economic approach to externalities absorbs these costs into the price of goods and services, typically through taxes or other forms on regulation, the neoliberal economic approach is to turn externalities into an economic opportunity by creating new markets of products from environmental bads and goods through payments for ecosystem services (PES). By proposing to provide both private and social benefits through a decentralized, market-based governance model, PES mechanisms are considered a more cost-effective, efficient, democratic, and socially preferable governance mechanism to traditional command and control, voluntary community based or educational approaches. The paradox of PES mechanisms is that special incentives, institutions and markets are required to make environmentally sustainable and socially beneficial behavior (PES’ proposed outcomes) economically attractive, and ultimately “valued” by the market.  The question of whether or not this neoliberal experiment is actually achieving it objectives has not been adequately determined. Through an evaluation of ongoing PES initiatives, I propose to offer a framework to assist in assessing the neoliberal experiment, not merely to justify its expansion through modification, but also to question whether or not it is the best experiment to address the externality problem.
Yda Schreuder
Department of Geography,
University of Delaware
Climate Change Policy in a Globalizing World: How the EU is coming to terms with Going-it-Alone Ambitious energy and climate change policies adopted by the EU has led to carbon-leakage to parts of the world where carbon reduction commitments are not in effect.  EU business and trade organizations of energy intensive industries now focus their attention on expanding production overseas and reduce manufacturing capacity in the EU due to carbon constraints.  Business leaders state that they are affected by competitive disadvantage in the global market place.  As the EU has been “going-it-alone” with mixed success in terms of complying with the Kyoto Protocol, various governments now weigh the benefits of carbon emissions reduction against employment and business concerns.  Until 2005, carbon costs were external to the cost of production in the EU, but, under the compliance rules of the Kyoto Protocol and the ETS this is no longer the case.  Taking carbon and energy/electricity prices into account, the cost of production are considerably higher in the EU than in most other parts of the world.  Furthermore, the institutionalization of a global free-trade regime under the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO induces manufacturers to relocate or shift production to countries where environmental regulations are less stringent and where no carbon constraints apply.  Host countries encourage the export of high carbon-content products and have set up free-trade zones or export platforms for that purpose.  The combined effect of the EU ETS and the institutionalization of a global free-trade regime is the driving force behind the increase in carbon emissions and the development of a fossil-fuel-based infrastructure in developing countries.  As the prospects for further economic growth in Europe have dimmed, business leaders and politicians have rallied behind a scheme where national governments are permitted to compensate industries for the impact of the ETS undermining the effectiveness of the EU ETS in combating climate change.
Deborah Scott
Department of Geography,
Rutgers University
“Typical win win win win win win”: the production of ecological restoration as a global solution The Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) 2011-2020 Targets for biodiversity include “restoration of at least 15% of degraded ecosystems” (Target 15) and restoring ecosystems that provide “essential services” (Target 14). Among mainstream environmental groups, corporations, inter-governmental organizations, and Party delegates engaged with the CBD, these Targets are being interpreted as a mandate to frame ecological restoration (ER) as a global strategy to combat biodiversity loss. At the 2011 15th meeting of the CBD’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice and the 2012 11th meeting of the CBD’s Conference of the Parties, ER was positioned alongside conservation and sustainable use as a ‘pillar’ of the Convention.

This paper examines: 1) the articulation of a newly ‘global’ ER with emerging financial markets as an instance of primitive accumulation (Corson & MacDonald 2012; Glassman 2006); 2) the production of global maps of ER ‘opportunities’ as an extreme case of scientific metrics aligning with market-based governance (Roberston 2004; Lave 2012; Lave et al. 2010); and 3) the further movement of the CBD towards technocratic market-based fixes and away from political engagement, as exemplified by the silent replacement of the original ‘third pillar’: access and benefit-sharing.

The roll-out of ER as a global solution has gone largely unchallenged by civil society and unexamined by academics, perhaps because the necessary actants are still being assembled, or because it seems to theoretically present a case of business-as-usual in neliberal environmental governance. As indicated by the title quote’s rather florid description, however, producing ER as a global solution engages the usual rhetorical (and financial and scientific) tools of market environmentalism at an almost comically broad scale, and these excesses may present critical scholars and social movements with a key opportunity to critique – and perhaps shift – the landscape of global environmental governance.

Elizabeth Shapiro-Garza             Nicholas School of the Environment,
Duke University
Irrational, Semi-Economic, Disenfranchised Actors: Challenging the Market-Based Principles of Payments for Ecosystem Services in Mexico Market-based conservation initiatives are based on principles of neoclassical economics that essentialize human beings as rational economic actors. This study reports on findings from a national level evaluation of the impacts of Mexico’s federal payments for hydrological services program that challenge these assumptions. Though the program was designed based on the theory that the rural poor who own these forests will clear cut for other uses if not provided an adequate financial incentive to conserve, the ways in which owners assign value to their forest and their motivations for decisions to conserve or degrade prove to be much more complex. A secondary assumption of program designers was that once owners were made aware of the economic value of the ecosystem services produced by their forests, they would be able to link with or create markets for carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation or hydrological services. These markets have not materialized due in large part to the fact that the rural poor are, by definition, disenfranchised from markets broadly defined. These findings are based on a remote sensing analysis of program impacts on forest cover, a national-level survey of program participants, and interviews with actors at multiple levels of program administration and implementation. Our findings fundamentally challenge the theoretical basis for market-based environmental mechanisms.
Jennifer J. Silver
Department of Geography,
University of Guelph
On the blue horizon: tracing the emergence and evolution of blue economy at Rio+20 Using data collected at the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (i.e., Rio+20) via a collaborative event ethnography, this paper traces the discursive emergence of blue economy. Initially utilized amidst the build-up to Rio+20, the term blue economy was widely invoked but variously defined at the summit itself. Thus, in addition to tracing its emergence, we document how various actors and groups employed blue economy, illustrating how it was used to advocate particular visions of human use and interaction with ‘global oceans’. We examine the dominant actors promoting, and the overlaps and divergences between, three prominent visions of the blue economy: (1) a coordinated system of regulatory and market-based mechanisms that incentivize more sustainable behavior in existing marine sectors; (2) the widespread quantification and valuation of ‘nature’s infrastructure’ and marine ecosystem services in national accounts and planning, enabled and encouraged through the coalescence of scientific knowledge, private finance and international actors; and (3) small-scale fishers and small island developing states gaining greater access and/or benefit sharing from fisheries or other marine development activities. At this point the blue economy is far from an agreed-upon institutional framework to structure human-oceans interaction. Yet, its emergence and injection into a variety of Rio+20 fora signals that numerous interests seek to discipline powerful international actors to understand the ecology, economic potential(s), and socio-cultural value(s) of oceans in regional, national and global terms. If this is the case, continuing efforts to define and draw support(ers) to particular visions of the blue economy warrant attention for their discursive evolution and for how they impact oceans conservation and development practice.
Dennis Soron
Department of Sociology,
Brock University
The “Individualization of Environmental Responsibility”: Expanding the Debate An array of thinkers and activists have recently advanced a powerful critique of what Michael Maniates has termed the ‘individualization of environmental responsibility,” challenging the growing tendency in the neoliberal era to frame individual consumer action as the primary source of, and solution to, today’s ecological crisis. While timely in many respects, this critique has also sometimes been overly dismissive and reductive, and insufficiently focused on the complex socio-cultural, political, material and institutional roots of “individualization” in today’s society. This paper represents a partial and provisional effort to address this theoretical shortfall, drawing upon the work of theorists such as Beck and Bauman to expand our notion of ways in which the dynamics of individualization shape and constrain environmental agency and factor into strategies of neoliberal governance. While this notion of individualization has been widely applied in studies pertaining to contemporary social policy, its relationship to debates over environmental policy and sustainable consumption practices remains largely under-theorized.
Cheryl Teelucksingh
Sociology Department,
Ryerson University
Democratizing Power: Environmental Justice in Toronto In the twenty-first century, urban centres such as Toronto, have become a focal point for concerns about the energy conservation and renewable energy, even as urban development and consumption continue to produce high levels of waste and pollution. Policies such as Ontario’s Green Energy and Economy Act (GEEA) seek to ‘green’ methods of production and consumption, and have been offered as a potential solution to energy and environmental challenges. Employing an environmental justice lens, we analyze the GEEA , first, to critique the neo-liberal and green capitalist ideologies embedded in the policy, and second, to examine the interests of actors in the emerging Ontario community power sector. Access to the power grid for more diverse players is identified as a potential site for the democratization of participation in keeping with the goals of environmental justice. Drawing on in-depth interviews with ENGO leaders, the paper considers the success and challenges that community power groups encounter in accessing the power grid, and examines the case of a successful community power initiative.
Gregory Thaler
Department of Government,
Cornell University
Tropical Agro-Forest Landscapes in the Green Economy: Reflections from Brazil and Indonesia This paper uses a cross-regional comparison of forest governance in Brazil and Indonesia as a springboard for thinking about how diverse configurations of actors, ecosystems, and political-economic regimes are producing distinct forms of neoliberal landscapes within the systemic project of the “Green Economy.” Brazil and Indonesia are the gravitational centers of the tropical forest-agriculture nexus that is one of the pillars of the global food-feed-fuel complex. Brazil cuts down more forest each year than any other country, with Indonesia second, and the great majority of deforested land in both countries is converted to agricultural production, especially cattle pasture in Brazil and oil palm plantations in Indonesia. These processes of deforestation and agribusiness expansion have become the foci of evolving multi-level governance systems that exemplify the interactions and tensions at the core of green neoliberalism. Markets are drivers of both deforestation and forest conservation, developing property regimes both enable and constrain agribusiness expansion, and ‘green governance’ structures are emerging both in government and the private sector. The inhabitants of forest regions, NGOs, corporations, and governments from the local to the international scale form new alliances and oppositions to determine the directions of change across the landscape. Yet there is a crucial difference: in the Brazilian Amazon deforestation has fallen more than 75% from its peak in 2004, while in Indonesia the rapid deforestation rate has experienced no such dramatic decline. Even as commonalities of the Brazilian and Indonesian cases illustrate the systemic character of the Green Economy, the divergence in deforestation patterns between the two countries points to the differential instantiation of the Green Economy in particular contexts. Here property regimes are a key point of difference, as Indonesia’s system of plantation concessions and localized REDD+ projects contrasts with Brazil’s system of private landholding and environmental licensing. This comparison thus prompts further reflection on how similar actors may coalesce through different political-economic regimes around distinct instantiations of a green neoliberal landscape.
Kasim A Tirmizey
Faculty of Environmental Studies,
York University
Ecological imperialism, accumulation by dispossession, and global land grabbing The existing literature on global land grabbing can be characterized as having an insufficient critique of not only capitalism, but also more specifically capitalist imperialism.  While some Marxist analyses of global land grabbing have used the concept of ‘primitive accumulation’ or David Harvey’s re-named ‘accumulation by dispossession’ for analysis, rather I suggest that the underlying structural issue can be better explained using a conceptualization of imperialism.  In this presentation, I will survey Marxist theories of imperialism to demonstrate their relevance in analyzing land grabbing by Gulf States in Pakistan.  In particular, I will critically engage with John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark concept of ‘ecological imperialism’ for understanding how global land grabbing in Pakistan is an instance of ecological imperialism by the Gulf States that emerges from regional uneven development and material-ecological contradictions.
Peter Vandergeest Department of Geography,
York University
Geographies of Eco-certification Practice This paper reviews eco-certification as a market-based approach to environmental regulation, with a focus on seafood certification. The paper will introduce eco-certification as outlined in the session abstract, and then take up the territorial dimensions of eco-certification.  Specifically, we outline how eco-certification creates new regulatory territories that both entice and alienate state agencies seeking to enhance their control over territories and people; and how the uneven global geographies of eco-certification can layer onto the sovereignty question accusations of imperialism, greenwashing, and conflicts of interest.
Bhaskar Vira
University of Cambridge
What do conservationists really think about markets? The recent history of biodiversity conservation practice has been characterised by the increasing use of Market-Based Instruments. An emerging body of critical social science research seeks to understand this development. This literature tends to characterise conservationists as being ideologically in favour of markets in conservation. An alternative possibility is that conservationists pursue market solutions as a pragmatic response to prevailing political and economic circumstances. In this paper we seek to establish empirically what conservation professionals really think about markets in conservation. We used Q-methodology, a tool for analysing structure and form within respondents’ subjective positions. The results suggest that conservationists are circumspect about the growing use of markets in conservation. We identify two dominant discourses that we label ‘outcome focused enthusiasm’ and ‘ideological scepticism’. Neither of these perspectives indicates strong, or uncritical, support for market approaches, and the views of our respondents appear to recognise the limitations of markets both in theory and practice. While there is some difference in views between the two dominant discourses that we document in this paper, there is considerable convergence towards a position that we label ‘cautious pragmatism’. We conclude that those studying conservation need to be cautious about over-generalising the perspectives and values held by conservation professionals, as there appears to be far less consensus about the adoption of market-led approaches in this sector than has been suggested. Further research could investigate the drivers of pro-market behaviour at the organisational level given the evident personal scepticism of many conservationists.
Sophie Webber
Department of Geography,
University of British Columbia
‘Do economists make (carbon) markets’? Yes; and so do climatologists, engineers, and bureaucrats! In a recent review paper, Gavin Bridge (2011) calls upon scholars to examine ‘old’ extractive, and ‘new’ carbon economies together as one ‘actually existing’ carbon commodity chain. Doing so, Bridge suggests, enables a consideration of the making of carbon resources economies, and the commonalities and connections between them. In this paper, we take up Bridge’s suggestion, comparing and analyzing two different new/old carbon economies, focusing on the actors, actants, and actions required to make and maintain these economies. First, we examine the carbon sequestration and offsetting economy in Alberta, Canada. Second, we consider the economy of climate change adaptation projects in the South Pacific. A comparison of these distinct carbon economies enables us to move beyond the more common examples of carbon offsets, trades, and taxes to consider the much broader collective of actors, institutions and relationships required to make carbon economies. Without consideration of these, we argue, analyses of carbon economies risk re-introducing the assumption that carbon economies and market instruments are distinguishable and separate from non-market rules, regulations and relationships. Such a comparison allows us to think through the worth and analytical precision of the concept ‘carbon economies’, and whether all such economies are created equally. Finally, this comparison allows us to consider where the limits to such economies may lie.
Peter Wilshusen
Department of Environmental Studies,
Bucknell University
Fields of Green: Enclaved Social Process and the Construction of “Green Growth” at Rio+20 The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) held in June 2012 positioned the ostensible object of “the green economy” at the center of deliberations.  While the conference was widely deemed a failure in charting transnational governance arrangements, it simultaneously provided an enclaved space for private sector, non-profit, and governmental actors to launch initiatives and programs, essential to materializing a particular variant of “the green economy”.  Drawing on practice theory and related perspectives, we examine how the Corporate Sustainability Forum—a parallel event to Rio+20 hosted by the UN Global Compact—served as a performative field in which diverse actors enacted and helped constitute emerging logics, configure social relations, demonstrate forms of mutuality, extend organizational networks, and channel flows of capital, tied to capitalist visions for a green economy, producing a privatized success from a public ‘failure’.  However, this ‘success’ – the ability to define the ideological terrain of ‘the green’ economy’ – relies on the dis- and re-entanglement of actors within institutional and organizational fields.  Here we focus on the rhetoric of “green growth” as a core constituent of ‘the Green Economy’ to explore how, despite an apparent convergence of actors, the fractures and tensions central to the politics of environmental governance coexist without resolving contradictions at the core of environmental degradation.
Michelle Yates
Cultural Studies,
Columbia College Chicago
Waste and a Crisis in Capital Accumulation This paper shows how the capitalist system that accords the ‘economy’ social significance over extra-human nature results in environmental degradation and a crisis in capitalism, both revealed by the concept of waste. While waste is consistently framed by environmentalists in the context of individual consumption habits, this paper shows how waste is rooted in the inherent functioning of capitalism as a “treadmill of production” (Postone 1993), striving toward increased levels of productivity in order to produce ever greater quantities of monetary wealth. The ongoing treadmill effect of capitalist production causes crises, which over the course of historical time, reaches an absolute tipping point, and becomes a state of permanent crisis. Following scholars such as Norbert Trenkle (2012, 2009, 2003) and Robert Kurz (1999), I argue that in the contemporary moment of late capitalism, levels of productivity have been reached at which valorization, or the production of ever greater quantities of monetary wealth, verges on and perhaps has already attained a condition of impossibility, though (monetary) value and valorization still dominantly mediate and determine the production process. Though no longer accumulating capital, what capitalist production continues to accumulate is ever-greater quantities of waste, a glut of commodity goods that are discarded as waste at the same time as absolute surplus populations are expelled from the labor process. The latter I call the “human-as-waste” (Yates 2011). In drawing on the dialectical relationship between waste and value, I am able to show how ecological crisis is simultaneously a crisis of capitalism, and specifically a crisis in capital accumulation.
Eddie Yuen
City University of New York
The Extinction Crisis Conservative estimates by biologists are that 20% of the world’s species will become extinct in the next few years. How does the extinction crisis (of species, eco-systems and the communities that rely on them) affect capitalism and capitalist cultures? How does the concomitant extinction of cultures and languages affect the communities that are seeking to resist the exploitation and commodification of the world?

The logic of extinction is homogenizing – it is the opposite of the mantra of “diversity” which we associate with capitalism since the 1970s. This means less “diversity” to commodify and less raw material to harvest, patent and subdivide.  Capital valorizes and instrumentalizes the diversity of nature, but this impulse is overwhelmed by its short-term logic of destruction. This contradiction is potentially depriving capital of a pharmacopeia of “magic bullets” from the as yet unenclosed and uncatelogued regions of the world.

This paper will assess the effort by some sectors of capital to save bio-diversity and “ecological services” by employing market methods to more accurately price them.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: