Fake news in conservation: Overfishing or over-reacting?

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Rafael Morais Chiaravalloti

University College London

I started my career as a conservationist in the Pantanal, Brazil. I remember the first thing I heard was that the local fish population was decimated. Some people even called the Paraguay River an empty river. The widespread belief was that the river had been devastated and that it was an area where local people impetuously harvested everything.  As an early career biologist out to save the world, I was easily convinced by the passion behind this crisis portrayal.

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Scarcity, Climate Change and the Construction of Conflict

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-Picture courtesy New York Times

Catherine Clarke

University College London (UCL)

Editor’s Note – Although not explicitly discussing narratives of sustainability, this essay examines the political subversion of climate change discourse from narratives of mitigation and sustainable development to the apolitical rhetoric of military mobilisation. This essay was written in 2014, and as such omits the current humanitarian horrorshow occurring throughout Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria, I strongly urge you to examine the climate narratives surrounding these conflicts after reading this piece.

 

A global discourse has emerged, causally linking climate change with conflict. This discourse is employed by a striking array of actors, from national governments, to UN agencies and the military. It is not limited, however, to these powerful institutions – publications from development NGOs, think tanks, policy reports and the media have all bought into this apocalyptic vision, largely outpacing the findings of academic research. As this discourse gains momentum, it is critical to ask who it serves, what other kinds of violence it conceals and who is most vulnerable to its impacts.

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“What is it we are trying to sustain?” – Working towards understanding the ‘Pluriverse’

lime_kiln_lighthouse_by_rj – Picture courtesy of VisitSanJuan.com

Dr. Sara Friend
University of St. Andrews

Nootsack, a place truly set apart from the world I had known. As an island off the northwest coast of America the feelings of remoteness did not necessarily come from this area’s physical distance from central nodes of human activity. At night from North Beach I could see the flickering lights of Vancouver, Canada, with Seattle, Washington, lying about eighty miles to the south as the crow flies. But oceans, borders and the intent of a small community can all be great barriers.

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In Memory of Gill Conquest

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­In Memory of Gill Conquest

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Gill Conquest on May 5, 2017.

Gill was an exceptional researcher and an exceptional person. Her interests were broad-ranging, extending well beyond the academic through performances of traditional stories and pantomimes, to writing plays and science fiction, sailing and playing games, and to music and dancing, all alongside her passionate commitment to developing the interfaces of technology and citizenship to support cultural and ecological diversity. She brought a sense of wonder and fun to all of her activities, embracing new experiences and opportunities at every chance with good humour and enthusiasm.

Gill joined the anthropology department as a Masters student in Anthropology, Environment and Development in 2011. Her masters’ dissertation examined the potential of new technologies to support environmental justice movements lead by indigenous peoples. During her Masters studies 2012, she joined the activities of the Extreme Citizen Science (ExCiteS) project, and the success of this research led to her recruitment as a PhD student in 2013 to study the ExCiteS supervised by Jerome Lewis and Haidy Geismar. Characteristically, her research project crossed many disciplinary and international boundaries, as she undertook fieldwork with groups of Indigenous peoples in the Congo Basin AND the geographers, computer scientists, and anthropologists working with them to develop mobile applications to address pressing issues that they identified. Working in Congo Brazzaville, Central African Republic and DR Congo she examined how different ways for expressing environmental knowledge by disparate groups such as Pygmy hunter-gatherers, forest farmers, commercial loggers and international conservation NGOs could be organised so as to interact more equally to reduce discrimination and biases in representation. Her fieldwork, and the anthropological perspectives she was developing, were groundbreaking; interrogating the idea of a pluriverse and how facilitating and supporting it might translate in anthropological practice, and as digital technologies and tools. She contributed to the development of new ways for presenting these knowledges side by side so that more just and environmentally sound management decisions are made concerning the exploitation of forest people’s land and resources.

Diagnosed with late stage cancer in 2016 Gill approached her illness with dignity, courage and positivity, bringing out the best in the community of friends and family that surrounded her until the end. We want to mark here the significant impact Gill has had on those staff and students lucky enough to have known her in the anthropology department. We will continue to honour her memory with a number of different activities over the upcoming months. In the meantime, our thoughts and condolences are with Gill’s friends and family.

Gill received great support from both the Shine Cancer Support charity, who seek to provide help specifically to young adults diagnosed with cancer, as well as from Macmillan Cancer Support. She had planned to participate in future events to fundraise for them. If you wish to make a donation to either of these charities this can be done here. The family have also requested that donations be given to these charities in lieu of flowers. Finally, family and friends are also planning events in memory of Gill. If you are interested in receiving news of those as they are worked out then please email uniteandconquest@gmail.com.

The Calculable and the Incalculable – A Brief Note on Sustainability and Post-Industrial Identity in the First Quarter of 2017

Eric Boyd

University College London (UCL)

But race is the child of racism, not the father. And the process of naming “the people” has never been a matter of genealogy and physiognomy so much as one of hierarchy. Difference in hue and hair is old. But the belief in the preeminence of hue and hair, the notion that these factors can correctly organize a society and that they signify deeper attributes, which are indelible—this is the new idea at the heart of these new people who have been brought up hopelessly, tragically, deceitfully, to believe that they are white.”

Ta-Nahisi Coates,

Between The World And Me

“You’re either at the table or on the menu.”

Michael Parr,

Senior Manager of Government Affairs, DuPont

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