HELSUS Global South Encounters
The GSE is the main ‘voice’ of the Global South theme of HELSUS. Recognising the complexities and peculiarities of the Global South, the GSEs engage both 'conventional wisdom' in mainstream sustainability science and the ‘Western Left Consensus’. The aim is to develop transformative Southern alternatives.

The GSEs aspire to substantially transform sustainability science and sustainability practice, policy, and praxis. In addition to developing critical concepts such as  just sustainabilities,  GSEs disseminate  empirical  research by citizens of the Global South themselves. The encounters also provide a space to meet authors of major books on sustainability in the Global South. Over the years,  GSEs have also provided a platform to foster inter-context, transdisciplinary, and interdisciplinary insights from a diverse range of perspectives that cut across all the HELSUS sustainability themes and beyond, always putting the case for decolonizing nature, economy, and society, while advancing the case for decolonizing methodologies.  

In between Encounters,Just Ecological Political Economy: the HELSUS Global South Blog, seeks to develop the aims of the Global South theme of the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS).

2022 Global South Encounters

The theme for the 2022 Global South En­coun­ters is Eco­lo­gical Im­per­i­al­ism.

This year, the HELSUS Global South Encounters (GSEs), a series of webinars intended to sharpen critical research in sustainability science, will try to address questions about ecological imperialism. Recognising the complexities and peculiarities of the Global South, these seminars will engage  mainstream sustainability science in order to transcend it, among others by decolonising nature, economy, society and methodologies. The encounters also provide a space to meet authors of major books on sustainability in the Global South. The speakers for the 2022 GSEs on Ecological Imperialism are as diverse as the case they seek to make.

  • 28 March, 2022  - Co­lo­nial ex­trac­tion and un­bear­able Cli­mate im­pacts in Africa
    Nnimmo Bassey
    Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Nigeria
  • 29 April, 2022 – Coal, Ecological Imperialism, and Climate Justice Movements in central India: Insights for global activism
    Ruchira Talukdar
    University of Technology Sydney, Australia
  • 30 May, 2022 – Climate Racism
    Anaïs Goubert
    Center for Economic and Policy Research, USA
  • 30 June, 2022 – Ecological Imperialism and Indigenous People 
    Joffre Balce
    Association for Good Government, Australia
  • 29 July, 2022  - Development and Environment
    Mariko Frame
    Merimack College, USA
  • 23 August, 2022 – Sustainability Transitions in the Southeast Asian Palm Oil Sector
    Helena Varkkey
    Universiti Malaya, Malaysia
  • 30 September, 2022 – French Ecological Imperialism in Sub-Saharan Africa
    Ambe Njoh 
    University of South Florida, USA
  • 30 October, 2022 – Is collective titling enough to protect forests? Evidence from Afro-descendant communities in the Colombian Pacific region
    María Alejandra Vélez
    Universidad de los Andes, Colombia
  • November, 2022 – Equity and Justice in Climate Action
    Jessica Omukuti
    University of Oxford, UK
  • December, 2022  - Book Discussion
    Stefan Ouma, University of Bayreauth, Germany

Zoom-link: https://helsinki.zoom.us/j/63877796461?pwd=V1hwVXdwRk9GRjhIMTYrUnVlMkd3Zz0

More details on the webinar dates will be announced later.

Webinars 2022

Co­lo­nial ex­trac­tion and un­bear­able Cli­mate im­pacts in Africa

When: Monday 28th of March at 10-11 UTC +3

Recording: Coming soon

Ab­stract:

The business of oil extraction in Africa has been operated as a mix of corporate greed and state backed repression. There has been no free, prior, and informed consent of the people before extractive activities are commenced and there is none when the corporations wish to divest. These relations of production have remained largely the same from pre-colonial to colonial and present neo-colonial times [1]. Efforts to placate and assuage the massive harms inflicted on the Niger Delta has been carried out through various placebos including oil company driven Memoranda of Understanding with communities, and various government interventions through agencies such as Niger Delta Development Board (NDDB) established in 1961, the Niger Delta Basin and Rural Development Authority (NDBRDA) established in 1976, the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) established in 1992, the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) in 1995,  Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) established in 2000 and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs created in 2008 [2]. These bandages have only sought to cover up festering wounds, without dealing with the fundamental ailments that over six decades of disastrous exploitation has wrought. And they have mostly failed. With over 1,481 wells, 275 flow stations, over 7,000 kilometres length of oil/gas pipelines and over 120 gas flare furnaces, the Niger Delta is an ecological bomb and one of the most polluted places in the world. Nnimmo Bassey called on the people of the region to rise and demand ecological justice. While the Niger Delta is a fitting metaphor for ecocide, extractive activities in other countries including gold and oil in Ghana; gas in Mozambique; coal, gold, and other minerals in South Africa; crude oil in South Sudan, and in Angola all follow the same pattern. To cap these, the exploited and vulnerable communities in these countries are exposed to climate change impacts which bring in insecurity and lock in. inequalities.

1 Nnimmo Bassey (March 2022). Oil, Rot and Divestment. https://nnimmobassey.africa/2022/03/12/oil-rot-and-divestment/

2 Olusegun Adeyeri (June 2012). Nigerian State and the management of oil minority conflicts in the Niger Delta: A retrospective view. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265999605_Nigerian_State_and_the_management_of_oil_minority_conflicts_in_the_Niger_Delta_A_retrospective_view

 

Speaker bio:

Nnimmo Bassey is an architect and director of the ecological think-tank, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) based in Nigeria and member of the steering committee of Oilwatch International – a network resisting the expansion of fossil fuels extraction in the Global South. He chaired of Friends of the Earth International (2008-2012). He was a co-recipient of the 2010 Right Livelihood Award also known as the “Alternative Noble Prize.” In 2012 he received the Rafto Human Rights Award. He also received an honorary doctorate from the University of York, UK, in 2019.

Bassey’s books include To Cook a Continent - Destructive Extraction and the Climate Crisis in Africa and Oil Politics – Echoes of Ecological War.

Chair of Event and Con­tact for En­quir­ies

Franklin Obeng-Odoom is Associate Professor of Sustainability Science with Global Development Studies and the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, both at the University of Helsinki in Finland. He can be contacted via franklin.obeng-odoom@helsinki.fi.

Coal, Ecological Imperialism, and Climate Justice Movements in central India: Insights for global activism

When: Friday 29th April at 10-11 UTC +3

Where: Recording available on Unitube

Abstract: 

In the context of climate change and measures to reduce carbon emissions, the dominant global framing of ecologically and economically unequal exchange has turned on the dichotomy between historically responsible for carbon emissions – the global North – versus rapidly growing economies historically deprived by colonisation and now asserting a fair share of atmospheric carbon space – the global South. In the case of India that typifies this Southern context, this carbon assertion underpins a nationalistic and moralistic conceptualisation of climate justice articulation, towards national commitments for emissions under the UN convention framework. India’s international position of ecological and economic justice is contradicted by intra-country injustices against intersectionally marginalised groups through postcolonial development. Activist-scholars conceptualise ecological injustice for communities as the struggle for access to a shrinking pool of natural resources by nature-dependent subsistence communities.

This talk discusses the paradox of unequal ecological exchange in the Global South through the case of disenfranchisement of Indigenous Adivasi communities in central India for industrialisation, even as India frames justice as a right to develop in international politics. Indigenous Adivasi communities have faced the brunt of post independence development; although they represent only 8% of the population, they constituted 40% of project affected and land-displaced populations from large scale industrial projects. Sidelining of Adivasi rights and aspirations for cultural economies have been ongoing features in the socio-political landscape of India’s industrial development. Thickly forested central India, home to the highest concentration of forest livelihoods dependent Adivasi Indigenous people, has been a centrepiece in coal production that has fuelled development. Changes to the political economy since the 2000s through neoliberalisation concentrated power and capital in the hands of industrial and political elites; deepening existing patterns of unequal ecological exchange between development-disenfranchised communities and sections of society who benefited from this development. A drastic increase and privatisation in coal production in central India came into direct conflict with India’s intention to redress historic forest dispossession of Adivasis through the Forest Rights Act (2006). The bill of Forest Rights holds the potential to substantially alter living conditions of forest-dependent communities but its potential has been undermined by poor implementation and violations.

Resistances by communities in central India against coal mining, for sovereignty, rights and alternative ecological development, upend the paradigm of postcolonial developmental equity in the global stage without taking away from the historic and continuing need to address Global North-South inequity. Their narratives and politics can help to frame a global justice that asks questions around what constitutes ecological equity across multiple scales – across the local, national and global - both against the context of a persistent North-South divide, exacerbating planetary crisis, and addressing long-term ecological imperialism.

Speaker's bio:

Dr. Ruchira Talukdar’s research focuses on the comparative aspects of environmental and climate justice activism between the global  South and the global North. She has written extensively on comparing coal conflicts and protest movements in India and Australia, with an emphasis on the intersections between grassroots and Indigenous people’s movements and mainstream environmental activism. She has worked within the environment movement in India in Greenpeace, and Australia in Greenpeace, Australian Conservation Foundation, and Friends of the Earth Australia, for a decade and a half. She has co-founded Sapna South Asian Climate Solidarity, an Australia-based South Asian environmental network, to link South Asian migrant experiences of environment and climate change in Australia and South Asia, and mentor the next generation of South Asian climate activists in Australia. She regularly writes for publications in India and Australia on environmental and Indigenous movements and resistance.

Chair of Event and Con­tact for En­quir­ies

Franklin Obeng-Odoom is Associate Professor of Sustainability Science with Global Development Studies and the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, both at the University of Helsinki in Finland.  He can be contacted via franklin.obeng-odoom@helsinki.fi.

Climate Racism

When: Monday 30th of May at 14-15 UTC +3

Recording available on Unitube

Abstract:

Black and Indigenous people in the United States have already begun to disproportionately suffer from the detrimental effects of climate change. Understanding this phenomenon and how to address these disproportionate climate vulnerabilities can most potently be done through the lenses of stratification economics. It helps to appreciate the persistent ‘racial wealth gap’ not only as a reflection of the US’s racist history, especially the legacies and lasting effects of slavery and settler-colonialism, but also a projection of how Black people become particularly susceptible to the climate crises. This presentation discusses an article that offers theoretical outlines to explain and, potentially resolve, ecological imperialism in the United States 

Speaker's bio: Anaïs Goubert

B.A. in Quantitative Economics with a Mathematics Secondary Field (New College of Florida), formerly with the Center for Economic and Policy Research, USA. Economics PhD program, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Author, Rent Control in New Jersey: Do municipality-specific rent control ordinances keep rent prices low?  (2021) 

Chair of Event and Con­tact for En­quir­ies

Franklin Obeng-Odoom is Associate Professor of Sustainability Science with Global Development Studies and the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, both at the University of Helsinki in Finland.  He can be contacted via franklin.obeng-odoom@helsinki.fi.

Ecological Imperialism and Indigenous People 

When: Thursday 30.6. at 10-11 UTC +3

Where: On Zoom

Abstract:

Ecological imperialism has created property law and economic systems that function to dispossess Indigenous peoples from their traditional lands, territories and resources. An application of Henry George’s perspectives on economic efficiency and individual liberties distinctively suggest that related exchanges affecting Indigenous traditional areas are potentially inefficient and unjust if they fail to incorporate Indigenous perspectives of traditional wealth and connections to traditional space. In such circumstances, any loss of traditional lands and resources would be potentially economically inefficient as it may be more harmful (and less valuable) to the Indigenous community concerned. Equally, this loss would deny the liberty of members of the community to associate and determine the use of their lands and resources in accordance with their own priorities. 

To an extent, this view is harmonious with the current international framework on Indigenous peoples’ rights. Accordingly, participatory legal protections that integrate: (i) Georgist conceptions of economic efficiency and individual liberties; and (ii) international Indigenous rights standards of free, prior and informed consent and consultation are suggested to alleviate unjust exchanges of Indigenous traditional areas, and in tandem, the broader contemporary effects of ecological imperialism. Despite the challenges in attaining the universal acceptance and implementation of this proposed alternative, its further investigation is nonetheless potentially beneficial. 

Speaker's bio: Joffre Balce

Joffre Balce is the Secretary of the Association for Good Government, Sydney, Australia and holds an M. Sc. from the University of Asia and the Pacific, Manila, Philippines. He specialises in development economics and cooperative enterprise

Chair of Event and Con­tact for En­quir­ies

Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen is Associate professor in Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies at the university of Helsinki. Her research interests include Amazonian long term human-environment relationality, Indigenous politics, mobility, biocultural heritage, Indigenous youth, and research ethics. 

For enquiries contact Franklin Obeng-Odoom, Associate Professor of Sustainability Science with Global Development Studies and the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, both at the University of Helsinki in Finland. He can be contacted via franklin.obeng-odoom@helsinki.fi.

Development and Environment

When: Friday 29.7.2022 at 14-15 UTC +3

Where: On Zoom

Abstract:

This paper explores the complex relationships between global ecological crises and ecological imperialism through world-systems analysis. In a hierarchical capitalist world-system, neoliberal globalization has granted global capital seemingly unfettered exploitation of nature across the planet. For the impoverished and marginalized in the Global South, this globalization is experienced as a form of contemporary ecological imperialism where the resources of the Global South are funneled to nation states in the Global North in the form of consumer goods and  ‘ecologically unequal exchange,’ while profits are siphoned off by transnational corporations.  This ecological imperialism persists, but it is largely overlooked in current debates about environmentalism in the 21st century.   

Speaker's bio: Mariko Frame

Dr. Mariko Frame is Assistant Professor of Economics at Merrimack College, Department of Economics, USA. She is the author of Ecological Imperialism, Development, and the Capitalist-World System: Cases from Africa and Asia (2022). Routledge, London

Chair of Event and Con­tact for En­quir­ies

Franklin Obeng-Odoom is Associate Professor of Sustainability Science with Global Development Studies and the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, both at the University of Helsinki in Finland. He can be contacted via franklin.obeng-odoom@helsinki.fi.

Sustainability Transitions in the Southeast Asian Palm Oil Sector 

When: 23 August, 11am Helsinki/4pm Kuala Lumpur

Where: On zoom

Abstract: Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world. Indonesia and Malaysia are the world's largest producers of palm oil, and the commodity is viewed as an important engine of growth and modernisation for these countries. However, this crop has been linked to various socio-environmental problems. This talk traces the sustainability transitions in the Southeast Asian palm oil sector, comparing the influence of global (deforestation, human rights) as opposed to localised (regional haze, land grabs) socio-environmental concerns on this trajectory. It argues that market access has been an important determinant of this sector's sustainability transition, clashing with historical narratives of natural resource-based development in the face of ecological imperialism. 

Bio: Dr Helena Varkkey is an Associate Professor of Environmental Politics at the Department of International and Strategic Studies, Universiti Malaya. Her areas of expertise include transboundary haze governance in Southeast Asia and global palm oil politics. Her monograph on “The Haze Problem in Southeast Asia: Palm Oil and Politics” was published by Routledge in 2016.

Chair of Event and Con­tact for En­quir­ies

Franklin Obeng-Odoom is Associate Professor of Sustainability Science with Global Development Studies and the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, both at the University of Helsinki in Finland. He can be contacted via franklin.obeng-odoom@helsinki.fi.

French Ecological Imperialism in Sub-Saharan Africa

When: 30 September, 4PM (Helsinki)

Where: Zoom

Abstract:

The duration of the French colonial project was the shortest in Africa, particularly the sub-Saharan region. However, it is here that the project left its most indelible footprint. The political and socio-cultural identity and implications of this footprint has received considerable attention. Yet, to receive such attention are the ecological consequences of this project in the region. Consequently, there are vast gaps in knowledge of the ecological implications of French colonialism in sub-Saharan or Black Africa. The main objective of the proposed paper is to contribute to efforts designed to close these gaps. The focus will be on the ecological consequences of French colonial and post-colonial activities in five domains, namely built space, land tenure/use, agriculture, forestry, and mining.  

Bio Ambe Njoh:

Njoh’s expertise is in International Development, Environmental Policy, Renewable Energy, and Public Infrastructure Systems with emphasis on questions of environmental and spatial equity, fairness and justice in Africa. He has conducted extensive research and written a dozen books and about 200 articles and technical papers on these subjects. He is a recipient of the 2022 Outstanding Researcher Award at the University of South Florida, his home institution. In 2021, he was ranked among the top 2% of the most productive scientific researchers in the world in a Stanford University study. Prior to that, he was selected by the prestigious United States’ Ambassadors’ Distinguished Scholar Program (ADSP) and assigned to Mekelle University, Ethiopia. As of August 29, 2022, Google Scholar had recorded 3,100 citations of Njoh’s works. He is a member of the editorial boards for the Journal of Race, Ethnicity and the City, and the journal Habitat International.

Chair of Event and Con­tact for En­quir­ies

Franklin Obeng-Odoom is Associate Professor of Sustainability Science with Global Development Studies and the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, both at the University of Helsinki in Finland. He can be contacted via franklin.obeng-odoom@helsinki.fi.

Is collective titling enough to protect forests? Evidence from Afro-descendant communities in the Colombian Pacific region

When: 30 October, 4pm (Helsinki time)/8am (Bogota, Colombia time)

Where: Zoom-link

Abstract: 

During the mid-1990s, one of the most ambitious land reforms in recent decades took place in Colombia. The reform recognized collective land rights of almost 6 million hectares to Afro-Colombian communities, with the dual goals of improving livelihoods and preserving valuable ecosystems. We estimate the impact of this collective land titling program on forest cover using panel data and a difference-indifference empirical strategy. We find that overall, collective titling significantly reduces deforestation rates, but the effect varies substantially by sub-region. Our qualitative analysis suggests that this might be the result of local community based organization defining the rules for community use of natural resources and the expulsion of private companies dedicated to timber exploitation and oil palm plantations. We conclude that under the adequate conditions, collective titling can lead to forest conservation.

Speaker's bio: María Alejandra Vélez:

Director of the Center for Studies on Security and Drugs (CESED), Associate professor at the Faculty of Economics, Universidad de los Andes, founding member of the Center for the Sustainable Development Goals for Latin America and the Caribbean (CODS) and senior research fellow at EfD initiative. She is an economist from Universidad de los Andes and Ph.D. in Economics of Natural Resources from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She was an Associate Professor in the area of ​​Socio-Environmental Sustainability at the School of Management, Universidad de los Andes (2008-2019), post-doctoral researcher at CRED (Center for Research on Environmental Decisions) at Columbia University, NYC (2006 -2008) and visiting professor at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Duke University, Durham, NC (2013). Her research focuses on governance and institutional design for natural resource management in rural communities of the global south. She is currently studying the design of payment for environmental services programs, the impact of collective property in Afro-Colombian communities in the Pacific Coast of Colombia and the dynamics of expansion of illicit crops in Colombia.

Chair of Event and Con­tact for En­quir­ies

Franklin Obeng-Odoom is Associate Professor of Sustainability Science with Global Development Studies and the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, both at the University of Helsinki in Finland.  He can be contacted via franklin.obeng-odoom@helsinki.fi.

Equity and Justice in Climate Action

When: 30th November 4PM Helsinki time (2pm UK tiime).

Where: Zoom-link

Abstract:

Today, many countries and entities have committed to implementing emission reduction targets to meet the global temperature goal outlined in the Paris Agreement. For example, non-state actors, particularly corporations and business have made emission reduction plans under net zero commitments, with a focus being on high emission sectors such as the power, aviation, and steel manufacturing sectors . Countries in both the Global South and the Global North have also made commitments through their long-term low carbon emission development plans.

The past 5 years have seen net zero become a dominant framework for defining global climate action that contributes towards the achievement of the Paris Agreement temperature goal. State and non-state actors have, therefore, been encouraged to set net zero targets, develop transition plans and implement them based on criteria set by sectoral or regional standard setting bodies. These actors are, therefore, encouraged to identify pathways for emission reduction that result in global net zero emissions. In doing so, global stakeholders believe that this will create sufficient critical mass to generate action on emission reductions across sectors and regions that limits runaway global warming and climate change. However, the success of net zero in facilitating global climate action depends on whether (or not) and how its definition and operationalisation integrates equity and justice.

In this talk, Jessica Omukuti will reflect on what equity and justice mean within the context of net zero. She will also highlight how net zero can be made to be more equitable and just by focusing on the need to prioritise those who are most affected by climate change. She will also present several case examples from different contexts, countries and regions to illustrate the absence of equity and justice in net zero, but also potential solutions for the integration of these principles into net zero commitments and their implementation.

Speaker's bio:

Dr Jessica Omukuti is a Research Fellow at the University of Oxford on Inclusive Net Zero, working with the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society (InSIS) in the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography. Jessica has also been appointed as the Oxford Net Zero Research Fellow at St John’s College, Oxford.

She leads Oxford Net Zero’s engagements with stakeholders in the Global South to outline pathways to inclusive net zero strategies, policies and actions.

Jessica has extensive research and practitioner experience, having led research on climate finance, climate justice and equity climate finance and governance of climate change adaptation. She has also managed development and resilience

programming in the Global South. She has previously worked with international finance institutions such as the Green Climate Fund and international NGOs such as Mercy Corps and CARE International and has developed a regional expertise from work in Sub-Saharan Africa. Jessica has a PhD in climate justice and equity in climate finance from the University of Reading.

Chair of Event and Contact for Enquiries

Franklin Obeng-Odoom is Associate Professor of Sustainability Science with Global Development Studies and the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, both at the University of Helsinki in Finland. He can be contacted via franklin.obeng-odoom@helsinki.fi.

Book Discussion

BookFarming as Financial Asset: Global Finance and the Making of Institutional

Landscapes, Newcastle Upon Tyne: Agenda Publishing, 2020.

Author: Stefan Ouma, University of Bayreauth, Germany

Panelists:

Mariko Frame, Merrimack College, USA

Anna Sturman, University of Sydney, Australia

Deborah Fahy Bryceson, University of Edinburgh, UK

Joseph Awetori Yaro, University of Ghana, Ghana

Chair: Franklin Obeng-Odoom, University of Helsinki, Finland   

Past seminars

Book Dis­cus­sion: Coal and En­ergy in Ema­lahleni, South Africa: Con­sid­er­ing a Just trans­ition 

When? Wednesday 15th December at 12.00-13.00

Where? Recording available on Unitube.

Ab­stract

In this talk, Professor Marais will discuss his latest edited book, entitled Coal and Energy in Emalahleni, South Africa: Considering a Just Transition (Edinburgh University Press, 2021) which investigates the complexity that a transition will bring to a place that has historically depended on coal.

Speaker bio

 

Dr. Lochner Marais is Professor of Development Studies at the Centre for Development Support at the University of the Free State (UFS). His research interests include housing policy, small cities in towns (mining and renewable towns and cities) and public health focusing on children. In addition to concentrating on each of these themes separately, he focuses on integrating them. Marais has authored, co-authored and compiled more than 200 research reports, including more than 150 refereed articles in peer-reviewed journals or books. He has also co-edited seven books. Over the past ten years, he has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on several international research grants. He has a specific passion for creating and managing interdisciplinary projects.

Chair of Event and Con­tact for En­quir­ies

Franklin Obeng-Odoom is Associate Professor of Sustainability Science with Global Development Studies and the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, both at the University of Helsinki in Finland.  He can be contacted via franklin.obeng-odoom@helsinki.fi.

Land­scape of Dis­place­ment: Mega-Plant­a­tions in South­east Asia

When? Wed 8.12.2021 at 13.00-14.00, Helsinki (check the time zone), via Zoom

Where? Recording available on Unitube

Speaker

Professor Noboru Ishikawa, Kyoto University, Japan. 

Dis­cussant

Dr. Helena Binti Muhamad Varkkey, University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Chair of the Event and Con­tact for En­quir­ies

Professor Maria Brockhaus

Ab­stract

One significant feature of the Anthropocene, the geological epoch under discussion, is the repeated transportation of plants from different locations and their subsequent successful cultivation in other locations in the equatorial zone. After 1492, signaling the start of the so-called Columbian Exchange, plant commodities – such as rubber, sugarcane, coffee, and banana harvested and processed by the hands of enslaved and indentured labor – brought enormous fortunes to a global plantocracy and capitalism more generally. Focusing on maritime Southeast Asia as a case in point, I explore the displacement of plants and peoples of the Global South, both massively relocated, uprooted, and mobilized for mega-production systems. Special attention is given to key dimensions of oil palm plantation in Malaysian Borneo such as the scale of expansion, multifaceted modes of production, forced juxtaposition of landscapes, habitat fragmentation, socio-economic dispossession, environmental despoliation, and emerging urban-rural continuum.

Bio

Noboru Ishikawa (Ph.D. in Anthropology, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York) is a professor of anthropology at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University. He has conducted fieldwork in Sarawak (Malaysia) and West Kalimantan (Indonesia) over the past three decades, exploring issues such as the construction of national space in the borderland, highland–lowland relations, the stateless in Southeast Asian histories, plantation system, commodification of natural resources, and relations between nature and non-nature in the Anthropocene. 

His publications include: Anthropogenic Tropical Forests: Human-Nature Interfaces on the Plantation Frontier (2020 Springer), Between Frontiers: Nation and Identity in a Southeast Asian Borderland (2010 NUS Press; 2010 Ohio University Press; 2010 NIAS Press), Transborder Governance of Forests, Rivers and Seas (2010 Routledge), Flows and Movements in Southeast Asia: New Approaches to Transnationalism (2011 Kyoto University Press), and Dislocating Nation-States: Globalization in Asia and Africa (2005 Kyoto University Press; Trans Pacific Press 2005). 

Pluri­verse, Education and Ter­rit­orial Justice

 

When? Thu 28.10.2021 at 16:15-17:15, Helsinki (check the time zone), via Zoom

Where? Recording available on Unitube

Ab­stract

The comprehensive development project manifested in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) proposes an overall engagement on “quality education for all” and supports social justice by promoting equal access to education for the most deprived groups. However, the SDG4 on quality education does not acknowledge diversity in ways of being (ontologies) and knowing (epistemologies) around the world and the need to support alternative ways to learn and produce knowledge. The role of education to achieve social and environmental justice is not new. At the institutional and international level, the debate around education has become central in the post-2015 development agenda, and within the territorial turn, education engenders and sustains projects with the potential to resist structural socio-environmental injustices and move toward more regenerative futures.

In this seminar, the panelists discuss how territorial justice and education offer paths toward the pluriverse by touching upon knowledge, politics and pedagogical visions, ecocultural identities, humilocene, socio-environmental consciousness, place-based education and community experiential calendars. The seminar connects with the Academy of Finland’s DEVELOP programme project “Goal 4+: Including Eco-cultural Pluralism in Quality Education in Ecuadorian Amazonia“.

Speak­ers

 

Paola Minoia is a Senior Lecturer in Global Development Studies at the University of Helsinki, and an Associate Professor in Political and Economic Geography at the University of Turin. Her research interests intersect the fields of political ecology and development studies with a focus on territoriality, state- and minoritized groups relations, socio-environmental justice, eco-cultural knowledges and the pluriverse. She is the Principal Investigator in the project Ecocultural pluralism in the Ecuadorian Amazonia (funded by the Academy of Finland 2018-2022) and a WG leader in the EU/COST Network Decolonising Development: Research, Teaching and Practice (2020-2024).

 

José Castro-Sotomayor PhD. is an Assistant Professor at California State University Channel Islands, U.S.A. He investigates ecocultural modes of human and more-than-human communication and how they influence our relationships with the Earth’s vitality. His work focuses on transversal forms of communication, agency, and dissent that inform participatory models for environmental peacebuilding and decision and policymaking. He is co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Ecocultural Identity (2020), a transdisciplinary volume seeking to foster a radical epistemology by investigating ways ecocultural identities are being, and can be, thought, felt, performed, and experienced within wider sociopolitical structures in ways relevant to regenerative Earth futures. Originally from Ecuador, he worked as an independent consultant for environmental NGOs in Ecuador and Colombia.

 

Tuija Veintie is a postdoctoral researcher in Global Development Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland. Her current research focuses on the integration of ecological and Indigenous knowledge in intercultural bilingual upper secondary education in Ecuador. Her study is part of a research project ‘Goal 4+: Including Eco-cultural Pluralism in Quality Education in Ecuadorian Amazonia’. Veintie has a multidisciplinary background in education, anthropology, and Latin American studies. She received her PhD degree in Educational Sciences from the University of Helsinki in 2018. Her research interests include social justice and diversity issues, epistemic power hierarchies, intercultural and Indigenous education as well as minority and Indigenous peoples’ rights.

 

Johanna Hohenthal is a postdoctoral researcher in Global Development Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki. She has worked in a research project ‘Goal 4+: Including Eco-cultural Pluralism in Quality Education in Ecuadorian Amazonia’ that studies intercultural bilingual education and eco-cultural knowledges of the Amazonian Indigenous groups. Her interests focus on the accessibility of intercultural bilingual education and its relation to Indigenous territoriality and place-based learning as well as on participatory research methods. She received a PhD degree in Geography in 2018. Her doctoral research focused on water resource governance and local ecological knowledge in the Taita Hills, Kenya.

Chair of Event and Con­tact for En­quir­ies

Chaitawat Boonjubun is a postdoctoral researcher at Global Development Studies, the Faculty of Social Sciences, the University of Helsinki, Finland. His research interests focus on understanding the social, political, economic, and cultural determinants of sustainable urban land use, the discourses and practices of urban regeneration, the politics of public lands, urban informality, religious land, and inequalities in cities. He can be contacted via chaitawat.boonjubun@helsinki.fi.  

Global Green New Deal: The Case of China

When? 30.6.2021 at 16:15 Helsinki (check the time zone)

See the record in Unitube

The Global Green New Deal (Global GND) literature has largely viewed finance and technology transfers as the most effective solution to address the imbalance between the Global North and Global South.Yet the internal socioeconomic structures within countries in the Global Southand the likely barriers they could createfor the transition towards a green economy are largely under-analyzed. This presentation highlights that,without addressing the structural issues such as informalitythat are prevalent in the Global South, the potential benefits of a Global GND are less likely to be fully realizedon a global scale. The discussion will mainly draw on the example of China, the country that assumes the seemingly contradictory role of the largest investor of renewable energy and the largest carbon emitter at the same time. Finally, the presentation callsfor a more organic integration of a Global South perspective in the studies of a Global GND.

Speaker bio

 

Ying Chen  is Assistant Professor of Economics at the New School and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her work mainly explores the contradictions within capitalism and how they unfold across time and space. Topics she has studied include economic development, labor, and climate change, with a special focus on the global south. She has published in journals including Environment and Development Economics, Economics and Labor Relations Review, Journal of Labor and Society, Review of Radical Political Economics, and the International Review of Applied Economics. 

 

Chair of Event and Con­tact for En­quir­ies

Franklin Obeng-Odoom is Associate Professor of Sustainability Science with Global Development Studies and the  Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, both at the University of Helsinki in Finland.  He can be contacted via franklin.obeng-odoom@helsinki.fi

Al­tern­at­ive Mod­els of De­vel­op­ment: Be­com­ing the Change We want to see in the world

When? 22.4.2021 at 13:00 Helsinki (check the time zone)

Recording available on Unitube.

Slide presentation

Other lectures of Dr. Asad Zaman: Spirituality and Development: part 2, development, Spirituality and Develpment

A materialistic approach to life locates problems in external reality, and attempts to find technological, political, or economic solutions. This represents a misdiagnosis which makes cures impossible to find. The anthropocene was brought about by the spiritual stunting now widespread across the globe due to our common materialistic education. Solutions lie in re-educating ourselves, to enable ourselves, and all of humanity, to achieve the potential for excellence which lies within our souls.

Speaker bio

 

Dr. Asad Zaman is currently serving as external advisor on the Monetary Policy Committee of the State Bank of Pakistan, and as Director of Social Sciences on the Al-Nafi online educational platform.  He received his BS Math from MIT in 1974, MS Stat, and Ph.D. Econ from Stanford Univ in 1976 and 1978 respectively. He has taught at Economics Departments of highly ranked international universities like Columbia, U. Penn., Cal. Tech.  and Johns Hopkins as well as Bilkent University, Ankara and Lahore University of Management Sciences. His econometrics textbook Statistical Foundations of Econometric Techniques is widely used as a reference in graduate econometrics courses, internationally. He is managing editor of International Econometric Reviews and Pakistan Development Review.  He has more than 100 publications, in top ranked journals like Annals of Statistics,  Journal of Econometrics, Econometric Theory, and Journal of Labor Economics. He has published widely in Islamic Economics, and is a leading authority in the field.  

Chair of Event and Con­tact for En­quir­ies

Chair Franklin Obeng-Odoom is Associate Professor of Sustainability Science with Global Development Studies and the  Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, both at the University of Helsinki in Finland.  He can be contacted via franklin.obeng-odoom@helsinki.fi

Aus­tralian Wild­fires: Cli­mate Emer­gency sig­nals need to De­col­on­ise

When? 24.3.2021, 3pm (Helsinki, Finland)/9am (New York, USA)

Recording of the seminar visible here.

Aus­tralian Wild­fires: Cli­mate Emer­gency sig­nals need to De­col­on­ise

The Australian wildfires have been particularly severe but as with many things that are seen to be a part of Australian experience, the problem is transnational. And it will be increasingly a world-wide problem with the impacts of climate change. While Australia is a dry continent the world is becoming more dry over time. Climate change is now inexorably affecting the whole of the planet and the raging wildfires threaten to engulf areas of the world that have never experienced them before. Australian Aboriginal practices of burning country are important for preventing “hot” out of control wildfires and they also promise to restore the land to its former level of moisture retention. Controlled fire as a means of land management in Australia is mirrored in other Indigenous land management practices in the Americas, Africa and in Asia.

In this session Victoria Grieve-Williams outlines the extent of the crisis in Australia and the world that has come about through settler colonials overriding the land management practices of Indigenous peoples. she references the work of George Main who writes of the need to regenerate Aboriginal Australia’s landscapes through understanding the land management practices of the original people, her work on the impact of the plough on land degradation, as well as that of the journalist Nance Haxton who has recently interviewed Aboriginal people about the use of fire in land management.

The extent of this crisis is such that every region of the Earth needs to be thinking deeply and planning for the future – how to prevent wildfires from destroying the planet and humanity.

Speaker Bio 

 

Professor Victoria Grieve-Williams is Warraimaay - an Aboriginal Australian – and historian who has published on Aboriginal family history, slavery, activism and the history wars in Australia. She works in interdisciplinary ways to progress the development of Indigenous knowledges, positioning Aboriginal spirituality /philosophy as the baseline for this development, with a focus on establishing the values and ethics inherent in what it means to be human in a changing world. In this connection she is highly engaged with the impacts of climate change on the natural world and the place of humans in it as we move further into the Anthropocene.

She has published critiques of public policy for Aboriginal people, identifying homo sacer in Aboriginal camps and amongst displaced Aboriginal people and has thus argued for Aboriginal Sovereignty in a newly constituted Republic. Victoria is in the process of establishing a Healing Histories Foundation in which she will apply the Aboriginal principles of healing the wounds of history through "truth telling" from research and reuniting families separated by the vagaries of war.

Chair of Event and Con­tact for En­quir­ies

Franklin Obeng-Odoom is Associate Professor of Sustainability Science with Global Development Studies and the  Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, both at the University of Helsinki in Finland.  He can be contacted via franklin.obeng-odoom@helsinki.fi

Nature in the City

When? 24th of February 2021

Recording of the seminar visible here.

Ab­stract

In a rapidly urbanizing India, what is the future of nature conservation? How does the march of development impact the conflict between nature and people in India’s cities? Exploring these questions, Harini Nagendra will briefly examine the past, present, and future of nature in Bengaluru, one of India’s largest and fastest growing cities.

Once known as the Garden City of India, Bengaluru’s tree-lined avenues, historic parks, and expansive water bodies have witnessed immense degradation and destruction in recent years, but have also shown remarkable tenacity for survival. This talk highlights Bengaluru’s journey from the early settlements in the 6th century CE to the 21st century city, and demonstrates how nature has looked and behaved, and has been perceived in Bengaluru’s home gardens, slums, streets, parks, sacred spaces, and lakes. An analysis of the changing role and state of nature in the midst of urban sprawl, and integrating research with stories of people and places, I  present, in this talk, an overview of my book with the same title, listed by the science journal Nature as one of the five best science picks of the week in its issue of July 28 2016. This is a talk about a city where nature thrives and strives.

Bio

Harini Nagendra is Professor of Sustainability at Azim Premji University. An ecologist, she uses methods from the natural and social sciences - satellite remote sensing, biodiversity studies, archival research, GIS, institutional analysis, and community interviews, to examine the sustainability of forests and cities in the global South. She completed her PhD from the Centre for Ecological Sciences in the Indian Institute of Science in 1998. Since then, she has conducted research and taught at multiple institutions, and was most recently a Hubert H Humphrey Distinguished Visiting Professor at Macalester College, Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2013. She is a recipient of numerous awards for her research, including a 2017 Web of Science 2017 India Research Excellence Award as the most cited Indian researcher in the category of Interdisciplinary Research; a 2013 Elinor Ostrom Senior Scholar award for her research and practice on issues of the urban commons, and a 2009 Cozzarelli Prize from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (with Elinor Ostrom).

Chair of Event and Con­tact for En­quir­ies

Franklin Obeng-Odoom is Associate Professor of Sustainability Science with Global Development Studies and the  Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, both at the University of Helsinki in Finland.  He can be contacted via franklin.obeng-odoom@helsinki.fi

Just Sus­tain­ab­ilites in Policy, Plan­ning and Prac­tice

When? 27th of January, at 4 to 5 p.m. (Finnish time zone, UTC +2, Eastern time zone UTC -5)

Recording of the seminar visible here.

Ab­stract: 

In his talk, Julian will outline the concept of just sustainabilities as a response to the ‘equity deficit’ of much sustainability thinking and practice. He will explore his contention that who can belong in our cities will ultimately determine what our cities can become. He will illustrate his ideas with examples from urban planning and design, urban agriculture and food justice, and the concept of sharing cities. 

 

Bio:

Julian Agyeman Ph.D. FRSA FRGS is a Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University. He is the originator of the increasingly influential concept of just sustainabilities, the intentional integration of social justice and environmental sustainability. He centers his research on critical explorations of the complex and embedded relations between humans and the urban environment, whether mediated by governments or social movement organizations, and their effects on public policy and planning processes and outcomes, particularly in relation to notions of justice and equity.

He believes that what our cities can become (sustainable, smart, sharing and resilient) and who is allowed to belong in them (recognition of difference, diversity, and a right to the city) are fundamentally and inextricably interlinked. We must therefore act on both belonging and becoming, together, using just sustainabilities as the anchor, or face deepening spatial and social inequities and inequalities.
He is the author or editor of 12 books, including  Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World (MIT Press, 2003), Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class and Sustainability (MIT Press, 2011), and Sharing Cities: A Case for Truly Smart and Sustainable Cities (MIT Press, 2015), one of Nature’s Top 20 Books of 2015. In 2018, he was awarded the Athena City Accolade by KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, for his “outstanding contribution to the field of social justice and ecological sustainability, environmental policy and planning“.