Mastering the environment? (EN)
Knut G Nustad (University of Oslo)
Wednesday 11 July, 11:30-13:15, 14:30-16:15, Thursday 12 July, 9:00-10:45 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

The panel explores the many initiatives attempting to manage environments (such as protecting biodiversity, stopping deforestation and limiting carbon emission), and how current political and economical changes redefine nature(s), reshape flows of resources and redistribute access and ownership.

Long abstract:

In Tristes Tropique Lévi-Strauss painted a vivid picture of how phenomena seemed to attract anthropologists when they were about to disappear, causing nostalgia, uncertainty and disquiet. Is the growing anthropological interest in the environment a sign that we are increasingly becoming aware of the fact that we are loosing sight of, and control over, our environments?

Environmental degradation and climate change are on the top of the political agenda worldwide. A series of global initiatives have been launched to protect biodiversity, stop deforestation and limit carbon emissions. These political initiatives are both causes for and effects of concurrent forms of governance, which redefines land and marine resources in ways that can be delimited and packaged, valued in monetary terms and sold as "carbon sinks", or as tourist attractions by labels such as "UNESCO World Heritage Sites", "unspoiled", "virgin", "last frontiers" and so on.

Global initiatives such as REDD use similar conceptualizations of nature in order to price stored carbon in rainforests and use this as the foundation for new forms of environmental accountancy governing large monetary transactions from the global north to the global south.