resist, re-imagine, re-build: a case studies approach geog 301: Int'L environmental issues & globalization
During the Spring 2018 semester at Humboldt State University, students in GEOG 301, International Environmental Issues and Globalization, asked questions: What is the Anthropocene and is this the right term to define our current moment in time? What do we mean by Nature and Society? What is globalization and where did it come from? How is it related to economic, political, and social structures, and how does it shape human and extra-human communities? How are issues of social justice and environmental justice related? What do power and culture have to do with climate change? What’s going on in our world right now, how did we get here, and where do we go from here?
We delved into these and other student-posed questions that are crucial to ask at this volatile moment in history. We employed a world-ecology perspective that 'allows us to see how the modern world’s violent and exploitative relationships are rooted in five centuries of capitalism and also how these unequal arrangements – even those that appear timeless and necessary today – are contingent and in the midst of unprecedented crisis’ (Patel & Moore, 2017).
World-ecology offers us not just a perspective from which to understand the shared roots and entanglements of our social and ecological crises, it also offers us tools to re-imagine the world and our place in it. After developing this perspective (and doing some fun stuff, like sharing self-care strategies, developing a post-capitalist manifesto, and writing children's books), students used it to examine case studies of resistance, re-imagining, and re-building. In groups, they collaborated to probe movements, organizations, and frameworks including: Standing Rock, La Via Campesina, Zapatistas, Friends of the Eel River, water and cultural sovereignty activism in Northern California, Friends of the Earth, March Against Monsanto, Refresh Appalachia, Save Bristol Bay, and the tiny living movement. Their findings are presented to you here. Please enjoy and join in the movement to re-imagine the world.
The resistance will be joyful!
Patel, R., & Moore, J. (2017). A history of the world in seven cheap things: A guide to capitalism, nature, and the future of the planet. University of California Press.