Seminar: Solar panels for Siberia

The Essex Sustainability Institute’s Seminar Series,Sustainability Contested, continues in 2013 at the Wivenhoe Park campus. The seminars are open to staff, students and members of the public. All are welcome, please spread the word!

Attendance is free, but prior registration is required. Please register by clicking here.

 

Solar panel project for the Lower Kolyma region of the Republic of Sakha-Yakutia, Russia; a four year collaboration.

Chris Madine, Arklerton Trust 

19th February 2013, Room Room TC.1.10, from 12:30 – 14:00 

Abstract: This presentation will describe the events which have unfolded in the attempt to train two candidates from Siberian communities to become solar engineers. The training is devised and conducted by the Barefoot College, an organization based in India which is primarily involved in rural development. The training process lasts a period of six months and is designed to result in a candidate becoming fully proficient in the construction and maintenance of their community’s own solar powered light project. The aim of this venture was to take solar light technology to the nomadic reindeer herders of the Chukchi Nation (Turvaurgin and Nutendli communities) located in the Lower Kolyma region of the Republic of Sakha-Yakutia, Russia.

Biography: Chris is currently working as a Consultant Ecologist in the North East of England. He also works closely with the Arkleton Trust. The Trust is a research group, which, founded in 1977, has the aim of ‘studying new approaches to rural development and education’ and ‘improving understanding between rural policy makers, academics, practitioners and rural people’.

 

Back online!

We’re back online to post about the local food project and our plans for the new year!

While we’ve been offline on this website, work on the project has been proceeding apace over our Christmas ‘break’. We’ve been pushing to complete our survey, and we’re excited to announce that we’re nearly there!  So far, 281 responses. But we see that some 74 questionnaires were begun and not yet completed.  If these were finished up, we’d have a total of 355 – which is 55 more than our original target, and that would be super. So, if you’ve started and not finished, or if you’re inclined to give it a go, please could we ask you to spare a few moments of your time and click here? Though the time taken to complete each survey has varied between respondents, we’re still averaging about 10 minutes per respondent to complete the survey. Which is not bad!

We’ve also begun work on our second phase of data collection, which involves participatory workshops in Norfolk, Essex and Suffolk. Our first workshop will be in Norfolk on the 1st of February and we’re looking forward to it. We’ll be meeting with people from Master Gardner in Norfolk – who’ve recently also done work with the University of Coventry around health and community.Once we’re done we’ll post a short summary and pictures here.

In the meanwhile, we’re spending time designing our workshop, and continuing with the (mammoth) task of reviewing the literature on local food to try and sieve out references to health and well-being. And we’re working on the final details for our upcoming Food in Transition workshop.

So we’re planning, and reading, and designing and moving forward. Watch this space!

[Cover Photo for this post: Jules Pretty]

Seminar: Separating Indigenous Peoples From Their Lands: The Ethnocidal Effects of Recent Canadian Land Claims Agreements

 

The Essex Sustainability Institute’s Seminar Series,Sustainability Contested, continues in 2013 at the Wivenhoe Park campus. The seminars are open to staff, students and members of the public. All are welcome, and attendance is free! Please spread the word!

 

Our next seminar is on the 23rd of January 2013, at 16:00 in Room 5N.7.23. Please note that the event will be free but prior registration is required. To register, please click here.

Separating Indigenous Peoples From Their Lands: The Ethnocidal Effects of Recent Canadian Land Claims Agreements 

This presentation examines Canadian land claims policy and interprets it as a means to diminish the cultural distinctiveness and social cohesion of Aboriginal peoples by requiring that they release most of their land to Canada and participate in resource extraction joint ventures. The recent Innu Nation land claims agreement called Tshash Petapen (‘New Dawn’)  will be analyzed in terms of (1) the social and political conditions in which the Innu negotiate, especially high rates of social dysfunction, alcoholism, and substance abuse (2) the provisos in agreements aimed at cultivating acquisitive individualism within a neoliberal economic framework, (3) the effects on Aboriginal social cohesion and relationships to the land, and (4) the legal result of such agreements, which is to extinguish indigenous ownership of lands and abolish any claims Aboriginal peoples can make against Canada for the violation of their rights.

Professor Colin Samson is a member of International Fact Finding Mission on land rights of Innu of Matimekush, Quebec, a delegate to the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations for the Innu Council of Nitassinan, Geneva, 19-23 July 2004 and a founding member of the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples, an organization seeking to link hunting and pastoralist peoples, Arusha, Tanzania. He is also the author of A Way of Life That Does Not Exist: Canada and the Extinguishment of the Innu.

If you would like to meet the speaker on the day, please email Bryony Pound, at balpou (at) essex.ac.uk. 

 

Eat well this Christmas!

Found this post on the blog of the Centre for Alternative Technology. Here’s an excerpt:

A few years back, research by Manchester University found that the carbon equivalent emissions of the UK’s total Christmas dinners was 51,000 tonnes. Much of this can be attributed to the life-cycle of the livestock… 

It is not only meat that is environmentally un-friendly. Cheese production creates vast amounts of greenhouse gases. Cranberry sauce is another emissions heavy but popular food this time of year. Because much of the cranberries needed for the sauce are grown in North America, the condiment has the highest transport-related emissions of the average x-mas feast. 

The great news is that with just a few small changes to the way you eat, there can be a large improvement to your environmental impact and to your health as well. For instance, cut down on the amount of red meat you eat and you will lower your cholesterol. As a rule of thumb, eating less meat and more vegetables will reduce your carbon footprint.

If you want to minimise your climate impact this Christmas, cut out meat completely and go for a vegetarian option. This is how to get a really low carbon Christmas.

Though if you do choose a prime cut of meat make sure it’s a locally farmed product. Locally sourced food will have low transport emissions and benefit your community at the same time. It’s even better if you can grow it yourself!

Good stuff. Here’s wishing you a happy, healthy Christmas, with great food that’s good for you, your community and your planet :)

Seminar: Stakeholder participation – keys to success

The Essex Sustainability Institute’s Seminar Series, Sustainability Contested, continues in 2013 at the Wivenhoe Park campus. The seminars are open to staff, students and members of the public. All are welcome, and attendance is free! Please spread the word!

Our next seminar is on the 15th of January 2013, at 12:30pm in Room TC 1.10. 

Please note that the event will be free but prior registration is required. To register, please click here. 

Stakeholder Participation: Keys to success 

Diana Pound, Dialogue Matters ltd. 

Stakeholder dialogue is regarded as a best practice approach to stakeholder participation.  It can be applied in any situation where people with different interests and knowledge need to work together to find a way forward. This includes achieving research impact via participatory knowledge exchange, involving stakeholders in the management of the environment and using participation as a tool for team decision making.  It has an emphasis on process design and uses facilitation methods that help people shift from positional behavior to cooperative and creative negotiation. Practitioners are guided by key concepts, design principles and ethics. This presentation will: explain some of these concepts, describe keys to success, and refer to cases that show this approach works.

Diana Pound founded Dialogue Matters in 2000 to transform the way people work together around the management and use of the natural environment. She champions good practice, speaking at national and international conferences and has designed over 70 stakeholder dialogue/consensus building processes, facilitated more than 100 workshops and trained over 900 people in good practice. Her work includes helping communities solve local challenges, stakeholders agree plans, researchers share knowledge, and international organisations including UN Conventions, develop guidance or policies. Diana recently developed a course to help researchers achieve research impact with end users through knowledge exchange.  She has also been an IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Commissioner since 2004.

If you would like to meet the speaker on the day, please email Bryony Pound, at balpou (at) essex.ac.uk. 

 

 

Food in Transition: Call for Workshop Participants

FOOD IN TRANSITION: TOWARDS A RESEARCH AND POLICY AGENDA 

A collaborative workshop of the Transition Research Network, Essex Sustainability Institute, Participatory and Rural Geographies Research Groups.

University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester CO4 3SQ, Essex 

Wed 6th Feb 2013, 12 noon – 6pm (followed by dinner) 

Are you:

  • Working or seeking to work, on local food initiatives where you live?
  • A grower or producer who supplies, or would like to supply locally, and support the work of community food initiatives?
  • Involved in academic research on local food systems, and seeking to maximise its practical value by collaborating directly with community groups, growers and producers?

If so, please join us and help develop a new agenda for local food practice, research and policy. We will use inclusive facilitation techniques to ensure the meeting is dynamic and makes the most of what all participants have to offer. The event is open to everyone interested in contributing to this theme. Attendance is free but by registration only. Travel and accommodation support is are available and will be allocated based on income and a simple email application.

Please spread the word, and feel free to circulate the attached flier.

For registration and bursary applications: Send an email to Prof. Steffen Boehm (steffen at essex.ac.uk) by 21st December 2012 with:

  • Your name and location
  • The name of the initiative you wish to represent (where relevant)
  • A few lines to tell us about your key relevant experience and why you wish to attend
  • An indication of whether you would like to apply for a travel bursary to enable you to attend.

We will then get back to you with a link to our registration page. The deadline for registration is 14th January 2012. 

The Transition Research Network is a self-organising group of academics and community activists. See: www.transitionresearchnetwork.org

Download Call-for-participants-Food-in-Transition2.pdf

Seminar: Neoliberalism, Socionature and Water Problems: The Multiple Scarcities of Lima, Peru

The Essex Sustainability Institute  is hosting  a new seminar series, Sustainability Contested, at the Wivenhoe Park campus. The seminars are open to staff, students and members of the public. All are welcome, and attendance is free! Please spread the word! If you would like to meet the speakers on the day, please email Bryony Pound, at balpou (at) essex.ac.uk. The final seminar for the Autumn term is on the 4th of December, 12:30 – 2pm, Room 5N.3.2.

Neoliberalism, Socionature and Water Problems: The Multiple Scarcities of Lima, Peru  
Antonio Ioris (University of Edinburgh) and Rafael Kunter Flores (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil)  

Abstract: The presentation will discuss the failures of water services and the growing scarcity of water in Lima, the capital of Peru. Institutional reforms and large-scale investments in the water sector in the city have been strongly influenced in recent decades by wider economic adjustments and the reconfiguration of the national state. The modernization of the water sector is described as a multifaceted, highly idiosyncratic phenomenon that depends on three interrelated processes: techno-environmental improvements, the marketization of water management and the search for political legitimacy. A condition of water scarcity goes beyond the physical insufficiency of resources, but vividly contains the inadequacy of social institutions responsible for the allocation and use of water. Scarcity is never a single phenomenon but develops into unavoidably associations with other manifestations of shortage and deprivation. The multiple features of scarcity are not only interconnected, but are interdependent and mutually reinforcing.

Water reforms represent a privileged entry point into the kaleidoscopic interlinkages that constitute the socio-politics of the city. Based on three case study areas in Lima (Pachacútec, Huaycán and Villa El Salvador), the interconnection between investments, selective abundances and persistent scarcities will be examined. The presentation will examine why the inversion of money and technology in the water sector in the last two decades has failed to offer a solution to the metabolism of scarcity. Although the modernisation of water services has been based on fleeting investments and on the business-like management of the public utility and of alternative water systems (e.g. micro-credit schemes), the responses to water problems remain centred on the appropriation of scarcity as a key productive force. In the end, the material and symbolic production of scarcity in the Latin American metropolis continues to be predicated upon practices of spatial exclusion and social discrimination.

Overall, the complexity of the institutional reforms in Lima suggests that the metropolitan water sector has travelled a long journey since the introduction of a new regulatory apparatus and calls for environmental governance promoted by multilateral agencies in the 1990s. Successive programmes have included a discourse of public participation, environmental sustainability and even social justice, but also incorporated incentives for the circulation of capital and the maximisation of private profits. In that sense, the case study of Lima intensely encapsulates the growing sophistication of water reform strategies, but also represents a relevant illustration of the intricate urban policies adopted in recent years. Substantial sums of money have been invested in infrastructure and management – which has attracted more international operators than the company can actually handle – while less attention has been dedicated to creating specific solutions to the concrete reality of water problems in different parts of Lima. The insufficiencies and contradictions of the water governance initiatives are becoming increasingly more evident and the allocation and use of water in Lima remain highly contested. Genuine alternatives will require further efforts in terms of public engagement and shared decision-making, as well as reforms in urban policies and the promotion of a more equitable basis of national development.

Antonio Ioris is Lecturer in Environment and Society at the School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh. His main academic interests are related to the political ecology of water policy-making and urban water management, with an emphasis on multiscale conflicts over the allocation and use of natural resources. Recent publications cover empirical work done in Portugal, Brazil, Peru, and Great Britain on the implementation of water institutional reforms, the politico-institutional dimension of climate change, and the influence of economic development demands in the expansion of water services. Recent and ongoing research projects include the reform of the water industry in Lima (Peru), the search for environmental justice in the Glasgow area, climate change and institutional weaknesses in the Paraguay River Basin (South America), integration of water management and agriculture systems, the adoption of digital technologies for the communication of hydrological data and the interface between ecosystem services and poverty alleviation in Brazilian and Bolivian sections of the Amazon River Basin. He is the editor of the book “Tropical Wetland Management”, published in 2102 by Ashgate.

Rafael Kruter Flores is a PhD Student in Administration at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil. He is currently based at the University of Essex for a three month period, working under the supervision of Professor Steffen Böhm. His PhD thesis focuses on contemporary theoretical approaches and the contributions of Marxism to understanding the political economy of water. He is a member of the Organization and Liberation Praxis research group, based at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, and has published the group’s first book, which has the same name. His research interests are water property and social struggles; mining and corporate practices in Latin America; political economies of management and organization; organization of resistance and social movements.

Seminar: The Lies of the Land? Foxhunting, Landscape Policy and the Cultural Appropriation of Space

The Essex Sustainability Institute  is hosting  a new seminar series, Sustainability Contested, at the Wivenhoe Park campus. The seminars are open to staff, students and members of the public. All are welcome, and attendance is free! Please spread the word!  If you would like to meet the speaker on the day, please email Bryony Pound, at balpou (at) essex.ac.uk.

Our next scheduled seminar is on the 29th of November, at 12:30pm in Room TC 2.10.

The Lies of the Land? Foxhunting, Landscape Policy and the Cultural Appropriation of Space. 

Alison Acton 

Abstract: In 2007 the UK Government adopted the European Landscape Convention (ELC).[1] In doing so it became bound to recognise the significance of spaces as more than physical regions; they were also to be regarded as dynamic, living landscapes, characterised by distinctive and diverse identities. However, my analysis of foxhunting culture and spatial identity indicated that local landscape assessments, designed to implement the ELC, removed foxhunting from the English countryside. This is despite the fact that foxhunting has a distinctive, long-standing and fecund physical and social presence in the land.

In practice, policies, which are designed to implement the aims of the ELC and purport to embrace its ethos, actually have a tendency to frame space selectively. They contribute to an appropriation of the landscape and represent a form of bureaucratic colonialism. The ELC claims to incorporate inclusiveness, bottom up involvement and local empowerment. However, in practice, selective representations of the environment wrest power from places and from those who create and give meaning to them.  This paper warns that this precedent represents a danger for our cultural and physical environment.

Alison Acton is an alumnus of Essex University. Her doctoral thesis examined the connection between landscape and the cultural identity of the foxhunting community. Her fieldwork involved participant observation riding as a member of mounted foxhound packs over three years. Since graduating Alison has continued researching aspects relating to foxhunting culture. Most recently this has inolved an analysis of the embodied relationship between landscape, horse and rider in foxhunting culture and the role of custom and praxis in maintaining unowned territory.Alison has presented her work at conferences hosted by the British Sociological Association, the Association of Social Anthropologists, Anthrozoos and the Royal Geographical Society and the Institute of British Geographers. She has contributed to an anthology on hunting and philosophy and has been interviewed by Laurie Taylor on the Radio 4 programme, Thinking Allowed. She is currently working on material for a forthcoming publication, Living with Horses.


[1] The ELC was signed and ratified by the UK Government in 2006 and became binding in 2007.

 

 

 

Seminar: The World Land Trust: International conservation and the human element

The Essex Sustainability Institute  is hosting  a new seminar series, Sustainability Contested, at the Wivenhoe Park campus. The seminars are open to staff, students and members of the public.

All are welcome, and attendance is free! Please spread the word! If you would like to meet the speakers on the day, please email Zareen Bharucha, at zpbhar (at) essex.ac.uk. More on our next seminar below.

Title: The World Land Trust: International conservation and the human element

13th of November 2012, Room 5N.3.2, 12:30 – 14:00 (bring your lunch) 

John has more than 30 years’ experience working in international conservation and started the World Land Trust (www.worldlandtrust.org) in 1989. You can read more about John here.

John will discuss the way World Land Trust works with its overseas conservation project partners; specifically focussing on the way that, by working with local people, WLT ensures the long term continuity and sustainability of a conservation project.

 

Seminar: Corporate Environmental Reporting

The Essex Sustainability Institute  is hosting  a new seminar series, Sustainability Contested, at the Wivenhoe Park campus. The seminars are open to staff, students and members of the public.

All are welcome, and attendance is free! Please spread the word! If you would like to meet the speakers on the day, please email Zareen Bharucha, at zpbhar (at) essex.ac.uk. More on the first seminar below.

Title: Corporate Environmental Reporting: What We Know, What We Don’t Know and What We Want to Know

6th of November 2012, Room 5N.3.2, 12:30 – 14:00 (bring your lunch) 

Abstract: Contrary to what many perceive, corporate environmental reporting is not a new phenomenon and has permeated the consciousness of accounting research as far back as 1977. The fact that it has remained a much-discussed issue spanning over three decades illustrates the importance of appropriately communicating sustainability and environmental information to stakeholders. Once seen as part of a broader corporate social reporting / CSR reporting agenda, environmental and sustainability reporting has emerged as an area of inquiry in its own right. The nature of the work over the past three decades highlights the interdisciplinary nature of this work, encompassing areas such as environmental science, economics, financial reporting, law, management, sociology and even linguistics. This research looks at the development of research in corporate environmental and sustainability reporting over the years, exploring theoretical nuances and arguments inherent in prior work. It concludes by exploring potential avenues for future interdisciplinary research in the area.

Idlan Zakaria joined the Essex Business School in 2006, obtaining both her Masters and PhD in Accounting and Finance at Lancaster University. She teachesfinancial reporting and corporate governance, and her research interests are in comparative corporate governance and voluntary disclosure in financial reporting. She has been published in the British Accounting Review and in the past has reviewed for publications such as the Journal of Business Finance and Accounting, the Journal of Islamic Accounting and Business Research and the Journal of Accounting and Emerging Economies.