Traditional knowledge, infrastructure and climate change 
Marc Brightman (Università di Bologna)
Jerome Lewis (University College London)
Conrad Feather (Forest Peoples Programme)
Senate House - Holden Room
Start time:
27 May, 2016 at 14:00 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

Traditional peoples broadly represent one vision of sustainable livelihood. Large-scale 'sustainable' infrastructure projects (real and virtual/market) represent another, preserving consumer society. What happens when these visions confront each other in the same landscape? Are they compatible?

Long Abstract

Traditional peoples depend on local landscapes for the maintenance of their traditional knowledge practices. Such practices are often integral to their identity, wellbeing and livelihoods. The lands of traditional peoples are affected by accelerating changes: changing climate and weather, and also measures that are being taken in the name of adapting to or mitigating climate change, e.g. hydroelectric dams; solar farms; REDD and other carbon trading initiatives, railways and roads to access sites of 'sustainable' development.

In the face of such changes, what are the prospects for preserving traditional knowledge? Can technological, financial and physical infrastructural projects provide additional sources of prosperity and better conditions for traditional knowledge to thrive? Does the small scale on which traditional practices exist merely allow them to continue to operate between the cracks of the gigantic scale infrastructure operations around them? Can partnerships with non-governmental and research organisations help traditional peoples maintain their livelihoods as well as adapt to radical changes in their landscape? Are outcomes always predictably confrontational or exploitative?

This panel seeks to understand a range of situations in which these two scales of development confront or intersect with one another. We would like contributions describing encounters and engagements between community led practices of sustainability, and state and business led infrastructural, digital or engineered sustainability projects. We encourage innovative or alternative modes of presentation, and especially welcome contributions from individuals or organisations practically involved in sustainable infrastructure projects.

Accepted papers: