Car Recycling: an often-overlooked way to decrease your vehicle’s environmental impact

Contributed by Gabe Vargas, Masters student at University of California, San Diego 

For many in the Global North, our personal impact on the environment is inexorably connected to cars.  According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and everyday passenger cars account for a majority of the sector’s emissions. 

What you might not know, is that the environmental impact of cars doesn’t just come from driving them.  The industrial processes that bookend a car’s lifespan—its manufacture at the plant, and its disposal —have a disproportionate impact on the environment, both in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of pollution.  

While we can decrease our miles traveled along the margin, it will be a long time before the built environment in countries like the US renders cars unnecessary.  But, we can mitigate the impact of other sources of our cars’ pollution by recycling them.  

Why recycle cars? 

Automotive recycling has several key environmental benefits.  It diverts waste from landfills—importantly, both a large quantity of waste (10-12 million vehicles a year, according to Argonne National Laboratory, a leading institution researching car material recovery), and a disproportionate share of the hazardous waste that poisons our land and our communities’ water supplies.  It allows parts to be reused  further reducing environmental impact.  It also decreases the demand for mining, preventing significant environmental damage associated with resource extraction.  And it substantially decreases the carbon footprint associated with making new cars.  

According to SellMax in San Jose,  every year, car recyclers in the US and Canada produce sufficient steel to make 12,000,000 cars, recover parts that would have taken the energy equivalent of over 85,000,000 barrels of oil to replace, salvage 100,800,000 gallons of gasoline and diesel, 45,000,000 gallons of washer fluid, and 8,000,000 gallons of engine coolant.  That’s a lot of hazardous liquids that could have otherwise ended up in American watersheds. 

What can be saved? 

The Backbone: Iron and steel 

Iron and steel can be recovered from the cars’ frame—a significant fact, since these metals can make up over 60% of cars’ mass

By 2010, according to  Argonne National Laboratory, recovery of ferrous metals (iron and steel), from car recycling, constituted the largest source of scrap for the iron and steel industry.  Producing recycled steel uses 74 percent less energy than steel made from scratch (remember this energy would still come from burning fossil fuels).  

The Hidden Hazard: Tires 

Few symbols of decaying cars are more emblematic or familiar than a tire fire—after all, one has featured prominently in the opening sequence of the popular cartoon The Simpsons for decades.  And this fascination is somewhat justified—as a report by the municipal government of Lehigh County, PA summarizes, tire fires are incredibly dangerous They burn incredibly hot and produce toxic gases. , When put out with water, they leave behind a toxic slurry that contaminates groundwater and farmland. 

When not ablaze, abandoned tires still threaten public health.  When holding water, they provide habitats for mosquitos that carry West Nile Virus, Zika, and other diseases. 

Once recycled, tires have many uses. They can be made into new roads, clean-burning fuel to replace dirty oils, and incorporated into liners for garden beds. 

The Classic: Aluminum 

Few materials for recycling are as familiar to the everyday consumer as aluminum.  And there’s a reason that the image of tossing cans into blue bins has become so intimately linked with the process of recycling itself: aluminum recycling is one of the most efficient landfill-diverting processes.  

According to a 2010 literature review by Subodh Dasand their team from the technical publication Light Metal Age, the recycling process converts up to 99% of aluminum into usable products. (a far higher rate than many other materials—and it can be repeated almost indefinitely).  This results in less material entering landfills, and less aluminum being mined—which is extraordinarily important, given that aluminum mining largely occurs in destructive open pit mines. These mines devastate ecosystems, poison water sources for generations to come, and contribute to major human rights violations.   

Aluminum recycling also saves enormous amounts of energy.  According to the same review in Light Metal Age, recycling post-consumer aluminum saves up to 95% of the energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from mining, refining, and smelting aluminum by 95% as well.  This is even more important than it sounds, because, as the Environmental Protection Agency reports, aluminum smelting releases large quantities of incredibly strong, long-lived greenhouse gasses known as perfluorocarbons.  Each pound of these compounds released into the atmosphere  has the same impact as releasing 9,200 pounds of carbon dioxide—and will remain in the atmosphere for over 10,000 years. 

Aluminum was one of the first and most important metals to be recycled from cars.  As early as the 1980s, SAE International, a leading professional organization for engineers predicted that automotive recycling projects focused on reclaiming aluminum from car frames would come a critical means of “decreasing disposal problems” associated with environmental contamination from used cars while “lower[ing] demands on material resources” to produce new vehicles.   

Most aluminum in cars are now recycled, providing a significant boon to the environment. 


Other materials 

As noted in a 2006 journal article by  Muhamad Z. b. M. Sama and  Gordon N. Blount, many other materials can also be economically recycled from cars—including resins, foam, glass, copper, and rare earth metals in catalytic converters.  All of these require tremendous amounts of energy and pollution to produce, and are not biodegradable—that is, when placed in landfills, they will not decompose.  

Despite their polluting effect, we’ll have to keep living with cars for a while. But at least we can provide a future for our rivers and atmosphere with auto recycling until they are obsolete.

POLLEN March 2021 Updates

Dear POLLEN Members and Friends, 

Lots of updates to share this month: meet the POLLEN node at the University of KwaZulu-Natal who will host POLLEN 2022, new CFPs, publications and more!

POLLEN Secretariat 
Sango Mahanty | Sarah Milne | Ratchada Arpornsilp
Resources, Environment & Development @ The Australian National University 

Preliminary information is available at the conference website – read more about our hosts below. 

Getting to know your fellow POLLEN members

Each monthly newsletter includes a brief introduction to one of the many POLLEN nodes to help build connections across our community. This month: The Centre for Civil Society (CCS) in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College – our POLLEN 2022 host! 

The University of Kwazulu-Natal’s POLLEN node 

The discipline of Geography and the Centre for Civil society constitute the POLLEN node at the University of Kwazulu-Natal. UKZN was formed in January 2004, as a result of the merger between the formerly racially segregated University of Durban-Westville and the University of Natal. UKZN has witnessed significant changes in terms of both staff and students’ activism against apartheid’s government-imposed racial segregation and more recently the ‘Fees Must Fall’ protests. Emerging from its past, the University aims to be a truly South African University of Choice that is academically excellent, innovative in research, and critically engaged with society.  

UKZN was ranked fourth out of the universities in South Africa and in the 351–400th in the world by the Times Higher Education University Rankings 2021. This Discipline of Geography at UKZN is based within the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences. It is housed across three campuses and focuses on research and teaching in Southern Africa as a spatial context for students in both the sciences and humanities, across three main components in Human Geography, Physical Geography and GIS and Earth Observation.  

The Centre for Civil Society (CCS) is based within the School of Built Environment and Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College, and aims to advance socio-economic and environmental justice by developing critical knowledge about, for and in dialogue with civil society through research, publishing and teaching. 

The UKZN POLLEN node will host the 4th biennial POLLEN conference in 2022. The contested notions of the Global North and South, comparative political ecology, and the production of political-ecological knowledge are proposed central themes for the conference. This is the first time the conference will be held in the Global South, and the node will aim to use the occasion to think with and through the geography of both political ecology research, as well the perennial focus of the network on political-ecological change in hegemonic and counter-hegemonic conditions and contexts. The conference offers an opportunity to expand the POLLEN networks and (re)visit Political Ecology’s own problematic but received persistent dichotomies and categories (spatial, social, political, economic, etc.) more generally, aiming to critically engage, and where necessary disrupt, our continued reliance on them. 

Node members 

Adrian Nel is a senior lecturer and academic coordinator in the Department of Geography, University of KwaZulu-Natal. Adrian is a Human Geographer with an interest in contemporary human-environment relations in Southern and Eastern Africa. Adrian’s research is inflected through the lens of political ecology, which explores the roots of social conflicts over access and use of the environment and natural resources. He has been a long term and enthusiastic member of the POLLEN collective and is a councillor for the Society of South African Geographers (SSAG). Adrian has a PhD in Geography from the University of Otago and completed a post-doc with a dual affiliation with the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Sussex, and the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

Shauna Mottiar is the director of the Centre for Civil Society at UKZN. Shauna completed both her MA and PhD in Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Her broad area of interest is democratic consolidation / democratic deepening in South Africa. During her time at the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa, she worked on electoral processes and outcomes in Southern Africa. While at the Centre for Policy Studies her research focus was the local government in South Africa and its mandate to provide water, electricity and health (HIV/AIDS-related) services. Her research at the Centre for Civil Society included an examination of the Treatment Action Campaign for the Globalization, Marginalization and New Social Movements project and the social protest study. She has also worked on research initiatives for the Centre for Conflict Resolution and the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes examining the role of Human Rights Commissions in conflict resolution and peacebuilding. 

Biniam Misgun is a lecturer in Development Studies and Economic History at the University of UKZN. He recently completed his PhD, supervised by a SANPAD project team of supervisors affiliated to the University of Cape Town, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of Amsterdam. His thesis topic was Identities, Identifications and Strategies of Integration of African Migrants in South Africa: A Case Study of Ethiopian, Rwandan, and Senegalese Migrants. His broader research interests include the urban environment, city life and the Informal Economy, Migration and Development, state institutions in Africa. 

Andries Motau is a PhD student with the African Climate and Development Institute and the Minerals to Metals group at the University of Cape Town. He is also a QES Scholar with York University and a scholar under the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence in Climate & Development (ARUA-CD). Andries works as a researcher and facilitator at the Centre for Civil Society at the University Kwazulu-Natal (UKZN); where he facilitates screening for DocLove on Activism and Human Rights. Andries is passionate about creating inclusive communities and this has shaped his line of study and work. His PhD study is primarily focused on analysing the conflicting perspectives in the global South Just Transition movement using the Mpumalanga coal region as a case study. Some of his research interests are on climate change, climate justice, circular economies, civil society and natural disasters.  

Nonduduzo Mkhize is an MSc student at the University of KwaZulu-Nata, in the discipline of geography. Her research investigates land claim settlement models used by forestry companies in South Africa. Her interests are on social and environmental justice movements and how political and apolitical factors influence/shape policy and the implications it has on previously disadvantaged communities. She has aspirations of further developing her research and teaching into an academic career.  

Catherine Sutherland is a geographer who works at the interface between social and environmental systems with a focus on sustainable development. Catherine is interested in the relationship between society, space and environment and how this shapes environmental politics and policymaking. She has worked on topics such as the impact of mega-projects on social environments in Durban, social assessment theory and methodology, sustainability indicators, risk and vulnerability, and urban/social policy. Her research interests are closely aligned with her teaching which focuses on social policy and environment and development.

Promoting POLLEN collaboration 

Do you write with other members of POLLEN? In attempts to promote collaboration across the POLLEN nodes, please consider putting the following statement in the acknowledgements of your paper: “This article represents work conducted as part of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN).”  
When you do, please let us know about it so we can tweet it out on @PolEcoNet and get it in the next newsletter! 

The POLLEN Advisory Collective

The POLLEN Assembly at POLLEN20 decided to establish a POLLEN Advisory Collective consisting of people who have engaged with the network in various respects. The purpose of the collective is to function as POLLEN’s institutional memory and as a go-to resource for the POLLEN secretariat and network nodes for advice, guidance, to share experience and other forms of support. Look here for more information about the collective and its current membership.

Working papers, blogs and media 

Apostolopoulou, Elia. (2021) How China’s Belt and Road Initiative is changing cities and threatening communities. The Conversation UK: 

Brad, A, Flemmer, R. und Hein, J. (2021) Raum und Ressourcen – Die politics of scale von Landrechtskonflikte. In: Bank, A. et al. (Hrsg.), Blogserie zum Themenschwerpunkt  “Politics of Scale in der deutschen Politikwissenschaft“, DVPW Blog:

Verweijen, Judith and Dunlap, Alexander. (2021) How extractive industries carry on harming 
the planet. The Conversation:

Al-Saidi, M. and Hussein, H. (2021) The Water-Energy-Food Nexus and COVID-19: Towards a Systematization of Impacts and Responses. Science of the Total Environment. 

Besek, Jordan Fox. (2021). “On the Interactive Nature of Place-Making: Modifying Growth  Machine Theory to Capture the Spatial and Temporal Connections that Spawned the Asian Carp Invasion.” The Sociological Quarterly 62(1): 121-142. 

Castellanos-Navarrete, A., (2021) Oil palm dispersal into protected wetlands: Human-environment dichotomies and the limits to governance in southern Mexico. Land Use Policy 103: 105304. 

Chakraborty, Ritodhi, Gergan, Mabel D, and Sherpa, Pasang, et al. (2021) A plural climate studies framework for the Himalayas. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. 51: 42-54. 

Chandler David, Müller Franziska, and Rothe Delf (eds.) International Relations in the Anthropocene; a textbook featuring lots of dissident approaches (e.g. posthuman, decolonial and political-ecology). 

Di Quarto F., Zinzani A. (2021) European environmental governance and the post-ecology perspective: A critical analysis of the Water Framework Directive” Geo Journal 1-13. 

Dunlap, Alexander and Correa-Arce, Martín. (2021) ‘Murderous Energy’ in Oaxaca, Mexico: Wind Factories, Territorial Struggle and Social Warfare. Journal of Peasant Studies: 1-27. 

Fladvad, B., Klepp, S. und F. Dünckmann (2020) Struggling against land loss: Environmental (in) justice and the geography of emerging rights. Geoforum 117, 80-89. 

Fleischman, F., S Basant, H Fischer, et al (2021) How politics shapes the outcomes of forest carbon finance. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 51, 7-14.   

García-López, GA (2020) Commons, power and (counter) hegemony. In Legun K., J. Keller, M. Bell, & M. Carolan (eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Environmental Sociology, Vol. 1, pp. 152-175. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press. 

Gonzalez-Duarte, Columba. (2021) Butterflies, Organized Crime, and ‘Sad Trees’: A Critique of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve Program in a Context of Rural Violence. World Development 142.   

Hickmann Thomas, Lederer Markus, and Schwindenhammer Sandra et al. (eds.), The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Transformative Change through Sustainable Development Goals? Politics & Governance, Special Issue. 

Hjort, M. (2021) Locating the subject of REDD+: between “improving” and safeguarding forest inhabitants’ conduct, Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law.

Hope, J. (2021) Driving development in the Amazon: Extending infrastructural citizenship with political ecology in Bolivia. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space. 

Melo, Felipe P.L., Parry, Luke, Brancalion Pedro H.S., et al. (2021) Adding forests to the water-energy-food nexus. Nature Sustainability. 4: 85–92. 

Müller Franziska, Neumann Manuel, Elsner Carsten, et al (2021) Assessing African Energy 
Transitions: Renewable Energy Policies, Energy Justice, and SDG 7. Politics and Governance, 9 (1). 

Quimbayo Ruiz, G.A. 2021. Reterritorializing conflicting urban natures: socio-ecological inequalities and the politics of spatial planning in Bogotá. University of Eastern Finland: Dissertations in Social Sciences and Business Studies. 

Rodríguez-de-Francisco, J.C., del Cairo, C., Ortiz-Gallego, D., et al. (2021) Post-conflict transition and REDD+ in Colombia: Challenges to reducing deforestation in the Amazon. Forest Policy and Economics 127, 102450. 

Svarstad, Hanne. (2021) Critical climate education: Studying climate justice in time and space. International Studies in Sociology of Education. 30(1-2): 214-232. 

Turhan, E. (2021). Envisioning climate justice for a post-pandemic world. Dialogues in Human Geography, 11(1), 4-7.

Villamayor-Thomas, S. & García-López, GA (2021) Decommonisation-commonisation dynamics and social movements: Insights from a meta-analysis of case studies. In P.K. Nayak, ed. Making commons dynamic: Understanding change through communication and decommonisation. London / New York: Routledge.

CfPs, Conferences, Talks 

CfPEcology, Economy and Society – the INSEE journal 
( Call for papers: research paper, thematic essay/survey, commentary, notes from the field, book review, report. For more 
information, contact 

CfP: An International Virtual Workshop On Urban Climate Justice organized virtually by Climate Justice Network during 28-30 June 2021. Information is found here: 
Due 1 April 2021.  

CfPConviviality. The Political Ecology Research Centre at Massey University and the Centre for Space, Place & Society at Wageningen University & Research welcome submissions for virtual conference during 1-7 June 2021. Submission information is here: Due 5 April 2021. 

CfA: The 9th International Conference on Sustainable Development is an academic conference that focuses on research for sustainable development. The Global Association of Master’s in Development Practice Programs (MDP), in collaboration with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), will hold the Ninth Annual International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD) on 20-21 September, 2021 virtually. The call for abstracts can be found here: Due 1 May 2021. 

Call for application: Farming for Climate Justice is a workshop series and networking 
opportunity for early career researchers (ECRs) in the UK and South Africa under a collaboration between the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at Coventry University and the Bio-Economy Chair at the University of Cape Town. Applications for participation in Farming for Justice closes on 11 April 2021 – see criteria for ECR applicants here. And visit 

Talk: UCD Environmental Humanities, a research group at  University College Dublin, hosts regular online talks that all are welcome to attend. Forthcoming events include Charis Olszok on jinn and oil in Arabic fiction, Martín Arboleda on planning, popular power and critical social theory, and Nicole Seymour on ecologies of glitter. The sign-up links can be found on website:  
Please send any questions to Hannah Boast,

Vacancies and courses 

Academic position 

Assistant Professor in Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change at the College of Social & Applied Human Sciences in the University of Guelph.  

PhD position 

PhD studentship/Graduate Teaching Assistant (PGTA) position in Human Geography : The School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol has a Postgraduate  Teaching Assistant position in Human Geography to fill for 2021/22 entry, with an anticipated start date of 01 September 2021. More info is in the link herewith: 
Deadline is on 29 April 2021.

Other News Items 

Introducing COLLAB 

Interdisciplinary Games was founded by Silja Klepp and Johanna Barnbeck in order to develop games that systematically support research between different fields and disciplines. COLLAB is the first in a series of games to improve methods and communication in these settings. It is a board game that creates a better understanding of and curiosity about other disciplines. It does this by encouraging a playful reflection on the scientific approaches, professional cultures, and structures of the other players’ disciplines. More info is here:

Book launch: Coal, Colonialism & Resistance (by Still Burning – network against hard coal and neocolonialism)

Book launch: Coal, Colonialism & Resistance (by Still Burning – network against hard coal and neocolonialism)

Coal is colonial, coal destroys ecosystems and communities, and coal is a climate killer. Across Europe, governments are implementing coal phase-outs and closing down hard coal mines. At the same time, Europe continues to import hard coal, outsourcing the destruction of ecosystems and communities to Russia, Colombia, and elsewhere. The book highlights the colonial entanglements of coal and warns of false green solutions – relying on hydrogen for ‘green steel’, for instance, and on renewables for ‘clean electricity’ – that don’t challenge colonialism, capitalism, and the state. It centres the voices of affected communities and warns of ‘false green solutions’.

After a short presentation of the book, we invite two speakers from Russia and Colombia to share their experiences of the impacts of mining and their resistance, and a decolonial climate justice and degrowth activist to explore ‘false solutions’ and ways to challenge climate injustice and neocolonialism.


30 March, 2021, 6-7.45pm CEST/5-6.45pm GMT

Speakers include:

Narlis Guzmán Angula (Environmental and human rights activist, Colombia, via video message)
Vladimir Slivyak
(EcoDefence, Russia)
Tonny Nowshin (Climate justice and degrowth activist)
Co-author of Coal, Colonialism & Resistance

Language: English

Register here:


Follow-up event: Coal and resistance in Colombia – a critical perspective of a local activist after a year of pandemic

April 7, 2021 7–8.30pm CEST/6-7.30pm GMT


Narlis Guzmán Angulo (environmental and human rights activist)

Languages: Spanish/English


The book will be available here from 30 March on in pdf and printed version

We are looking forward to welcoming many of you there!

The editors of the book


Two, 3-year Research Scientist postdoctoral positions in Maritime Geographies/Social Sciences at the Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity (HIFMB), Oldenburg, Germany.

Two, 3-year Research Scientist postdoctoral positions in Maritime Geographies/Social Sciences at the Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity (HIFMB), Oldenburg, Germany. Come and join a growing group of geographers and social scientists at the interdisciplinary Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity (HIFMB). Located in beautiful Oldenburg, Germany, the HIFMB – a collaboration between the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) and Carl von Ossietzky University (UOL) – offers a multi-disciplinary, international, and dynamic environment for researching the marine environment and a vibrant, friendly and supportive culture for postdoctoral staff. 
Within the HIFMB, expertise in marine ecology, data science and biodiversity theory are joined with a ever-growing social science and humanities profile in political ecology, maritime geographies and marine governance. The Carl von Ossietzky University is home to the Institute for Social Science, which has strong ties to the HIFMB.  It is also an established home to work in Marine Spatial Planning.                                                                 

 We invite applications for 2 postdoctoral Research Scientist positions: Research Scientist Position: “Follow the enforcement: Spatialising understandings of monitoring, reporting and sanctioning at sea”(m/f/d)within the Marine Governance Group with Kimberley Peters

Research Scientist Position: “Maritime motorways, global ship routeing and the governance of marine biodiversity” (m/f/d) within the Marine Governance Group with Kimberley Peters

Both roles are paid in accordance with the Collective Agreement for the Public Service of the Federation (Tarifvertrag des öffentlichen Dienstes, TVöD Bund), up to salary level 13 (known as E13). 

These are posted with the appreciation and knowledge that time-limited jobs are far from perfect, but also the hope that 3-year positions and ones that note candidates will be supported in career progression are a step in the right direction. Do get in touch if you have any questions.
 As a reminder, we also offer 4 fully funded PhD positions in projects as diverse as benthic geopolitics to emotional marine governance. Details of all posts are here:
Applications for the postdoctoral positions are due by April 4th 2021 exclusively online. Applications should consist of a cover letter (max.2 pages) outlining the motivations for applying and relevant experience and knowledge, alongside a CV. Further details on the application procedure are available once you click ‘apply’. 

November 2020 Updates

Dear POLLEN Members and Friends,

Once again we have a full newsletter with a node introduction from Peru, exciting new publications, a few CfPs and talks, blog posts, podcasts and vacancies! Take a look to see what happened across POLLEN in November.

Best wishes, 

POLLEN Secretariat

NOTE: the updates below are a copy of the original newsletter, and therefore might not contain all hyperlinks and content. To access the original with full content, as well as to see previous newsletters, follow this link:
Getting to know your fellow POLLEN members

Every monthly newsletter includes a brief introduction to one of the many POLLEN nodes. We hope this will help build better connections between our community. Our next ‘virtual visit’ is to Peru. Enjoy!
Short group bioA broad range of universities in Peru are discussing the intersection of ecological, social and political issues. Forming this POLLEN node based in the Catholic University of Peru with Deborah Delgado Pugley, Maritza Paredes, Jose Carlos Orihuela, Gerardo Damonte, Jose Carlos Silva, and Eduardo Dargent is a great opportunity to invite a critical reflection on how the Andean-Amazonian region is undergoing quick transformations. The group is only just forming and there are surely many others who we have not yet connected with – if you see this message, please do get in touch! (contact Deborah

Together, we have cultivated student interest in the field of political ecology. A young and vibrant community works on the expansion of conservation and its paradoxes, indigenous people’s rights and decolonial approaches, commodities booms and bursts, and ecological economics.
Fun fact
Did you know that today you can find over 4,000 varieties of native potatoes grown in the Andean highlands of Peru? Selected over centuries for their taste, texture, shape and color, these potato varieties are very well adapted to the harsh conditions that prevail in the high Andes, at altitudes ranging from 3,500 to 4,200 meters. Although their production is hand-picked and extremely valuable, in the field, the value of a kilo of potatoes felt to less than S/0.20 (0.055 USD) in 2018 and its average prize nowadays is only 0.39 USD.
Let’s come together as a network to support the new secretariat!
 Crawford School of Public Policy, Canberra, Australia are new secretariat hosts. In line with the spirit of inclusivity in POLLEN, the hosts have offered to take this on without having the funding to make it work in practice, but in the hope that the network would step in to collectively support the function financially. Let’s do this! A crowdfunding link has been created, see here.
POLLEN20: Watch videos of sessions
 An extensive archive of video recordings from the POLLEN2020 conference ‘Contested Natures: Power, Politics, Prefiguration’ is now available to all, including people who were not able to participate in the event.
You can watch all the keynote sessions on a YouTube playlist.
Watch playlist: POLLEN2020 keynote video

You can also see video from almost all sessions at the conference, by visiting the conference website and creating a username and password, free of charge. The homepage includes basic instructions on how to do this, and tips on navigating the site to find the session you want. Visit website here.
Promoting POLLEN collaboration
Do you write with other members of POLLEN? In attempts to promote collaboration across the POLLEN nodes, please consider putting the following statement in the acknowledgements of your paper: ‘This article represents work conducted as part of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN).’ 

When you do, please let us know about it so we can tweet it out on @PolEcoNet and get it in the next newsletter!

Alba, Rossella, Silja Klepp, and Antje Bruns. “Environmental justice and the politics of climate change adaptation–the case of Venice.” Geographica Helvetica 75.4 (2020): 363-368. Available open access.

Alba Rossella, Kooy Michelle and Bruns Antje (2020) “Conflict, cooperation and experimentation: Analysing the politics of  urban water through Accra’s heterogenous water supply infrastructure” Environment and Planning E. Open Access

Anthias, P., & Hoffmann, K. (2020). The making of ethnic territories: Governmentality and counter-conducts. Geoforum

Atkins, E. (2020). Contesting hydropower in the Brazilian Amazon. Abingdon: Routledge.

Atkins, E. (2020). Tracing the ‘cloud’: Emergent political geographies of global data centresPolitical Geography. [Early View].

Castellanos-Navarrete, A., de Castro, F., and Pacheco, P., 2020. The impact of oil palm on rural livelihoods and tropical forest landscapes in Latin America. Journal of Rural Studies. DOI: 10.1016/j.rurstud.2020.10.047.

Dunlap A. 2020. Compost the Colony: Exploring Anarchist Decolonization. Tvergastein Journal

Dutta, Anwesha, and Harry Fischer. Forthcoming. The local governance of Covid-19: Disease prevention and social security in rural India. World Development.

Ehrnström-Fuentes, M. (2020). Organising in defence of life: The emergence and dynamics of a territorial movement in Southern Chile. Organization, 1350508420963871.

Erazo Acosta, E. (2020). Alli Kawsay: Epistemology and Political Practice in the Territories, a Possibility from the Andean Pluriverse for Ecological Justice and the Care of Mother Nature. The Palgrave Handbook of Climate Resilient Societies, 1-17.

García, Magdalena and Monica E. Mulrennan. “Tracking the History of Protected Areas in Chile: Territorialization Strategies and Shifting State Rationalities.” Journal of Latin American Geography, vol. 19 no. 4, 2020, p. 199-234. Project MUSE

Gills, B., & Morgan, J. (2020). Economics and climate emergency. Globalizations, 1-16.

Gönenç, D., & Durmaz, G. (2020). The politics of neoliberal transformation on the periphery: a critical comparison of Greece and Turkey. Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, 1-24.

Horowitz, Leah S. In press. Indigenous rights and the persistence of industrial capitalism: Capturing the law–ideology–power triple-helix. Progress in Human Geography. 

Martin, A., Armijos, M. T., Coolsaet, B., Dawson, N., AS Edwards, G., Few, R., … & White, C. S. (2020). Environmental Justice and Transformations to Sustainability. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development62(6), 19-30.

Massarella, K., Sallu, S. M., & Ensor, J. E. (2020). Reproducing injustice: Why recognition matters in conservation project evaluation. Global Environmental Change65, 102181.

Partelow, S., Schlüter, A., Armitage, D., Bavinck, M., Carlisle, K., Gruby, R., … & Sousa, L. (2020). Environmental governance theories: a review and application to coastal systems. Ecology and Society25(4).

Sanches, Camilo Torres. O mundo da vida no estuário amazônico: ecologia política da biodiversidade no arquipélogo de Belém do Pará – Brasil’ 01/05/2005 367 f. Doutorado em DESENVOLVIMENTO,AGRICULTURA E SOCIEDADE Instituição de Ensino: UNIVERSIDADE FEDERAL RURAL DO RIO DE JANEIRO, SEROPÉDICA Biblioteca Depositária: CPDA. Trabalho anterior à Plataforma Sucupira

Zografos, C. and Robbins, P., 2020. Green Sacrifice Zones, or Why a Green New Deal Cannot Ignore the Cost Shifts of Just TransitionsOne Earth3(5), pp.543-546.

Special forum: Economics and Climate Emergency. All articles free access until Christmas. See on this link

Special issue: WFD + 20: Assessing the European Water Framework Directive Guest Editors: Timothy Moss, Gabrielle Bouleau, José Albiac and Lenka Slavíkova. See here.

BOOK: Has It Come to This? The Promises and Perils of Geoengineering on the Brink. Edited by J.P. Sapinski, Holly Jean Buck, Andreas Malm. Rutgers University Press. Discount codes: he following discount codes make it almost affordable: USA: “RFLR19”; Canada: “RUTGERS20”; Rest of the world: “RutFriendsFamily”
PUBLICATION: TERA journal issue 1 
The journal of Technology, Ecology, and Risk Assemblages (TERA) explores how speculations about the future affect societies in the present day. This first issue of TERA provides a curation of thinkers and practitioners who explore risk and resilience in different yet, interrelated ways. Starting point of all essays is an urge to develop new ways of thinking, as established frameworks fail to capture the complexity of risks in the present day. The essays included in this journal offer ways to approach the notion of risk in speculative ways, foster complex and interdisciplinary perspectives and critically question the ethics they imply.
TERA journal #1 includes contributions of renowned and emerging thinkers and artists: Ed Finn, Erik Bordeleau, Jacqui Frost, Nicola Privato, Groundhem Initiative, James R. Watson, Laura E. R. Peters, Jamon van den Hoek, Shannon Lambert, Isabel Cavenecia, Tinna Grétarsdóttir and Sigurjón Baldur Hafsteinssonand Thomas Pogge in an interview by Krisha Kops.
The journal can be freely downloaded and read on Please consult the website for further activities of TERA institute, upcoming events and future journal editions.
CfPs, Conferences, Talks

CfP: Panel proposal to the BASA (British Association for South Asian Studies) Annual Conference 2021. Panel title – Environmental Governance in South Asia: Discursive Political Ecology of Contemporary Environmental Programmes. Read more here. Please submit your abstract (100-150 words) by Monday 30th November, 2pm UK time, to 
CfP: Digital Natures: Reworking Epistemologies, Ontologies and Politics Special Issue for the journal Digital Geography and Society. Abstracts deadline: 18th December 2020. Please submit abstracts of up to 250 words to Andrés Luque-Ayala (, Eric Nost ( and Ruth Machen ( Final paper submissions will be expected between May–July 2021.

Conference: DOPE 2021! February 18-20, 2021. The priority registration deadline for those attending the conference without presenting is February 5, 2021 (those only attending may still register after this date through February 20, 2021). Reminder: we will have a limited number of presentation slots available this year with priority for graduate students and junior scholars. If you are interested in being considered for a presentation opportunity, please follow this link for more informationReading Groups: Find out more about the DoPE 11 Reading Group and the Critical Restoration Reading Group. If you have questions please contact ukpewg@gmail.comNOTE: The DOPE Underrepresented Student Scholars Award Program will not be available for the 2021 conference seeing as registration fees are optional, but we hope to get it up and running for future conferences.

PhD Defence: Soutenance de thèse de Gaële Rouillé-Kielo, le 23 octobre 2020 à 14h (visioconférence). Available here

Recasting Water Worlds: part of the online e-flux Art&Education Classroom Series, focusing on notions around hydrocommons. It includes contributions by Dilip da Cunha, Carolina Caycedo, Macarena Gomez-Barris, Joyeeta Gupta, Vandana Shiva, Ursula Biemann, Astrida Neimanis, and is up and running via this link.

Le colloque: “Ce que l’Amérique latine fait à l’écologie politique” se tiendra en ligne les 9, 10 et 11 décembre, de 14h à 20h. Près de 40 chercheurs/ses y débattront de ce puissant courant de recherche, de son histoire, de ses perspectives, de ses difficultés et de ses enjeux. Le programme et les informations de connexion sont accessible sur le site:
Blog posts, articles documentaries, podcasts
 In Common Podcast: explores the connections between humans, their environment and each other through stories told by scholars and practitioners. In-depth interviews and methods webinars explore interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary work on commons governance, social-ecological resilience, and sustainability. See here.

PERC in 2020. Review of PERC activities. By Lisa Vonk (November 24, 2020).

Dunlap A. 2020. This is What Energy Transition Looks Like: L’Amassada Eviction One Year Later. Verso Blog,

EXALT podcast – latest episodes:
Bonus episode: Year 1 Retrospective (and Outtakes)
Markus Kröger – What is the Best way to Push for Change?
Anja Nygren – How Does Extractivism Impact Frontier Families Over Generations?
Gutu Olana Wayessa – Why do people need to be consulted about big projects in their back yards?
Will LaFleur – What kind of connection do you have with your food?
From our friends at Undisciplined Environments

Not All That Is Green Becomes Gentrified By Ana T. Amorim-Maia (November 3, 2020)

Not a “wasted” enterprise: political ecologies of wastewater wetlands in Kolkata By Jenia Mukherjee and Amrita Sen Jenia (November 17, 2020)

Experiences of the Covid19 pandemic of small-scale farmers in the Draa Valley in the South-East of Morocco By Lisa Bossenbroek, Hind Ftouhi, Abir Benfars and Nawal Taaime (November 26, 2020)
From our friends at EXALT

Session Recordings From Doctoral Students Pre-Conference in October 2020 “(De)naturalising extractivism: investigating its social orders and resistances”. Watch here or here

EXALT READING: Alternative Futures: India Unshackled. Read the latest: Alternative Futures: India Unshackled”(edited by KJ Joy & Ashish Kothari) which brings together scenarios of an India that is politically and socially egalitarian, radically democratic, economically sustainable and equitable, and socio-culturally diverse and harmonious. 

NEWS PIECE ON THE FIRST YEAR OF THE EXALT PODCAST: “Popularising research on extractivism and its alternatives” Published on the University of Helsinki’s website
Vacancies and courses

M.Phil programme in Environmental History at Trinity College Dublin! Admissions now open. For further information and to apply for 2021/22, please visit this page

PhD: Revival of indigenous agroforestry systems (chakras) for crisis resilience in the Ecuadorian Amazon: opportunities and challenges of gender, ethnicity and forest livelihoods – fully funded at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (Coventry University). Supervisors: Dr. Nina Isabella Moeller, Prof. Michel Pimbert, Dr. Miho Taka. Deadline: 31 March 2021; start date Sept 2021. More info here.

PhD: Quantifying and modelling the impacts of COVID-19 in flagship conservation areas” (See hereSupervisor: Esteve Corbera Research group: LASEG

PhD: “Environmental degradation and COVID-19: A case study for planetary health” (See hereSupervisor: Federico Demaria and Cristina O’Callaghan-Gordo Research group:

PhD: “Integrated climate modelling for instrument comparison and synergy” (See hereSupervisor: Jeroen van den Bergh ( Research group: Ecological Economics Barcelona

PhD: Landscape structure and Agri-environmental schemes: socio-ecological experiments on the potential of cross-border conservation” (See hereSupervisor: Sergio Villamayor-Tomas ( Research group: Ecological Economics Barcelona

PhD: “Alternative urban agriculture: scaling up or out?” (See hereSupervisors: Xavier Gabarrell ( and Sergio Villamayor-Tomas ( Research groups: Ecological Economics Barcelona and Sostenipra

Postdoc Research Associate Position in the Social Dimensions of Gene Editing in Food and Agriculture

A two-year postdoctoral position is available in the department of sociology at Iowa State University (ISU). The postdoc will work with an interdisciplinary team examining the social dimensions and governance of gene editing in food and agriculture. The project is funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Social Implications of Emerging Technologies (see The postdoctoral research associate will be expected to analyze both qualitative interview/focus group data and quantitative survey data, help lead a deliberative stakeholder workshop, conduct literature reviews and employ sociological theories related to agrifood biotechnologies and governance, contribute to peer-reviewed publications and presentations at professional meetings. The full position announcement with due dates is attached.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dr. Theresa Selfa Professor and Associate Chair, Dept. of Environmental Studies & Graduate Program in Environmental Science, SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry Syracuse, NY 13210 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Associate Editor, Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems Associate Editor, Rural Sociology

New resources to teach and learn about the political ecology of urban waste management

Original post by Henrik Ernstson of

We are proud to present NEW RESOURCES from our #SituatedUPE Collective to teach & learn about the political ecology of urban waste management. We recently finalised our Turning Livelihoods to Waste?-project (TLR) and created this page with outputs:

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#POLLEN20 postponed due to COVID-19

Dear POLLEN friends,

We regret that we must announce that the POLLEN 20 conference, which was scheduled for 24-26 June 2020, has postponed by the hosts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In light of this, the conference organizers are taking some time to consider carefully alternative arrangements for hosting the conference. We will be updating registered delegates and the wider POLLEN community about the new plan for the conference as information becomes available.

Those who have already submitted final session or presentation details and registered as part of an organized session can use this form to indicate their current intentions, including whether they wish to withdraw from the conference, cancel registration and / or request a refund of fees.

All session organizers and registered delegates will receive email notifications of the delay tomorrow morning, 18 March. We thank you for your patience and understanding at this time and will be updating the ‘news and updates’ section of the conference web site and the main POLLEN web site as new information becomes available.

With best regards,
The POLLEN20 organizing team

POLLEN20 – calling conference moles!

Cool mole v1
Do you have what it takes?

Large multi-panel conferences are hard to keep up with. There is so much going on simultaneously that it can be disorientating, even alienating.

One of the ways of dealing with this is by setting up ‘conference moles’. Moles have the task of listening to public conversations and discussions taking place in panels, workshops and around the meeting, and reporting them back to delegates.

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