Cultivating Sustainability Literacy and Public Engagement in Intag, Ecuador
(Winona State University)
Paper short abstract:
Intag in northwest Ecuador represents a microcosm of the planet’s most salient problems having to do with development, governance, and climate justice. The region offers lessons about sustainability, civic participation, biodiversity and climate change for the future of life all over the globe.
Paper long abstract:
The region of Intag in northwest Ecuador represents a microcosm of some of the planet's most salient problems having to do with development, governance, and climate justice. It raises the following questions: Do local communities have the right to determine what kind of development goes on in their 'neighborhood', where their livelihoods are contingent on healthy ecosystems and their neighbors include still undocumented species of plants and animals? What rights do rural women and men have to the power of transnational capital in the form of extractive industries in the search for minerals to quench the insatiable 'need' for commodities in the global north? Why does the northwest corner of the Ecuadorian Andes matter, and what lessons about civic participation, biodiversity and climate change do events in Intag reveal for the future of women, men and children all over the globe?
Generally, responses to global crises, such as natural disaster, poverty, civil unrest, and other natural and human insecurities, have been overly focused on scientific and economic solutions. In this case, I follow social resolutions. The stories of natural and social histories, confrontation, coalescence and new ways forward are compelling as women and men from Intag struggled in alliance with outsiders to come up with creative solutions to confront development on their own terms. The civic and gendered dimensions of social empowerment in Intag, within the context of local and global political ecologies, are instructive for anyone interested in the crises surrounding climate change, sustainability and human survival.
Communities of practice in global sustainability